Polk County Decategorization

Parenting/Support Services for Families


Research informs policies and practices related to risk factors among young parents who have been in foster care

The Youth Policy Institute of Iowa, in collaboration with Iowa State University, has published an analysis of Pregnancy and Parenting among Iowa Youth Transitioning from Foster Care. This important data sheds light on two issues - Child Abuse Prevention and Pregnancy Prevention - and highlights more data about an at-risk population served by Prevent Child Abuse Iowa.

Some key points to consider:

  • Many youth start their sexual experiences at early ages (< age 14) and had multiple partners and pregnancies.
  • Only 22% report always using birth control, and 27% report never using birth control.
  • While the majority of females reported receiving early and consistent prenatal care, few females or males participated in birthing or parenting classes.
  • Mean age for first pregnancy is 17.9 years old, and by age 21, more than 50% of young women had at least one child

Download the report to learn more here

Building A Child’s Math Confidence

Researchers at the University of Chicago had a group of first graders participate in math story time with family members at home. They found that the children who did short numerical story problems significantly increased their math achievement throughout the school year, compared to children who only read at home. This was especially true for children whose family members were anxious about math. The message from this research to families is to use everyday activities like cooking dinner, setting the table, and reading stories together as opportunities to build math capability and confidence. And the message to early childhood professionals is to support this kind of interactions by providing examples and information. These small math interactions can go a long way toward building a child’s math confidence. Learn more and watch a video, in English or Spanish, at https://www.childtrends.org/videos/building-your-childs-math-confidence

Need Homework help?

Each school is a little bit different, and each grade has its own challenges and benefits. From Pre-K to college, being involved with your child's education is important. For many parents, helping with homework can seem daunting. How much time do you spend? What if you don't know the answer? What if your kids don't want your help. Fatherhood.gov's Homework Help section offers some tips and resources to help you navigate homework help like a pro.

Find even more fun and creative ideas in our Activities of the Week.

Recently released from OPRE: Parents and Children Together: Effects of Four Responsible Fatherhood Programs for Low-Income Fathers

The Office of Family Assistance (OFA) funded, and the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE) oversaw, a contract to conduct the Parents and Children Together (PACT) program evaluation. The PACT Responsible Fatherhood impact study was a large-scale, random assignment examination of four federally funded RF programs that received grants in 2011. This report discusses the impacts of those programs on fathers' parenting, relationships, economic stability, and well-being about one year after the fathers enrolled. Read the full report here.

Art for Peace Group

Limited space available for participants! Group meets 1st Monday of each month at Healing Art Counseling in Windsor Heights. Participants must pre-register.

For more info, please email: rabram@healingartcounseling.com

Center for the Improvement of Child Caring (CICC)

is sharing a series of authoritative articles for parents and for people who work with parents.

DHS Child Care Assistance Program Changes

  • Changes will become effective July 1st!
  • What is the Child Care Assistance Program?  Child Care Assistance (CCA) is a program available to the children of income-eligible parents who are absent for a portion of the day due to employment or participation in academic or vocational training or PROMISE JOBS activities.  Assistance may also be available for a limited period of time to the children of a parent looking for employment.
  • What are the changes?  The changes include:
    • Moving from a 6-month to a 12-month certification period
    • Allowing for temporary changes in work, education and training activities
    • Allowing more time for job search activities for families currently receiving Child Care Assistance
    • The new Child Care Assistance Plus (CCA Plus)  Program
    • A higher payment rate for QRS Level 5 child care providers

See more detail HERE. Parents may access the video using the following link HERE.

Early Childhood Toolkit Available

A new resource worth sharing! At long last the National Head Start Center on Parent, Family and Community Engagement has released a compilation of fifteen high quality tools fo use in tracking family progress toward their goals and the efforts of early care and education staff to help families advance toward those goals. This document is laid out nicely in regards to free tools vs. tools with a cost and offers links to the tools as well as instructions on interpretation. The .pdf is available at this link.

Fatherhood Classes: Now Available at Evelyn K. Davis Center.

A Facilitated, Peer Driven, Small Group format that will cover discipline, communication, formative relationships, father-mother partnership, physical and emotional development and social modeling. Meals and Instructional Materials Provided. Please see here to learn more.

Sessions held on:

  • Mondays: 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
  • Tuesdays: 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
  • Thursdays: 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM

FTDM/YTDM Questions/Responses

For facilitators of FTDM/YTDM - the latest QA document!

Mosaic Family Counseling Center

Steps to Emotion and Anger Management Group: Learn here.

Natural Resources: Addressing Early Childhood Emotional and Behavioral Problems

 According to recent reports (see below), more than 10% of young children have clinically significant mental health problems, but most receive no interventions for their disorder. Although often not recognized, young children experience mental health problems at rates similar to older children.

Improved access to care, more research identifying alternative models, adequate payment for providers, and improved education on evidence-based interventions are among the recommendations in the November 2016 American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement and technical report Addressing Early Childhood Emotional and Behavioral Problems. The policy is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1542/peds.2016-3023 and the technical report at http://dx.doi.org/10.1542/peds.2016-3025; both will be published in the December issue of Pediatrics.

Early intervention and evidence-based family-focused therapies are key to helping young children with emotional and behavioral problems. The policy summarizes empirically supported approaches to mental health care for young children, describes barriers to interventions and proposes recommendations to enhance care.

Parenting resources

  • 100 Tricks To Help You De-Stress - Huffpost
  • Are You a Mom with ADHD, Raising a Child with ADHD? - ADDitude
  • 5 Kid-Friendly Yoga Poses To Help Your Child Avoid A Meltdown - mbgmovement
  • The Difference Between Tantrums and Sensory Meltdowns - Understood
  • How To Prevent Sibling Fighting - Aha! Parenting.com
  • The Opioid Crisis; Resources for building resilience in young children who have experienced trauma and maltreatment and their families  - Teaching Tolerance
  • Tips on Helping Your Child Build Relationships - Click HERE
  • Children with shy or slow to warm up temperaments - Click HERE
  • 10 Resources to Help Kids Handle Negative Emotions - Click HERE
  • The Roots of STEM Success: Changing Early Learning Experiences to Build Lifelong Thinking Skills - Click HERE
  • How to talk to kids about racism: An age-by-age guide Click HERE
  • The Difference Between Tantrums and Sensory Meltdowns  Click HERE
  • Seven Research-Based Ways that Families Promote Early Literacy Click HERE
  • Why Kids Lie and How to Stop It Now Click HERE
  • An infographic illustrating the seven evidence-based practices in English  and in Spanish
  • Self-Harming Behaviors: How you can help your child Click HERE
  • Exploring the Link Between Childhood Curiosity and School Achievement Click HERE
  • Free Prevention Print-Outs
  • Through play, children learn valuable skills they’ll use for a lifetime. This website is a great source for play ideas that build on these skills, expert advice, and the latest research on the value of play. For example, check out the Age-by-Age Toy and Play Guide for ideas on how to playfully support learning and development in children from birth through 12 years. - The Genius of Play  

  • Leading Family Engagement in Early Learning: A Supplemental Guide : This 2018 guide from the Global Family Research Project (https://globalfrp.org/) examines best practices for family engagement within a variety of spaces, from public libraries to schools. It includes a collection of free resources that thoughtfully offer evidence for culturally-responsive and effective ways to engage families.  - click here

  • Understanding the Intersection Between Cyberbullying and Trauma: In this webinar speakers focus on understanding the intersection between cyberbullying and trauma. This presentation was recorded in conjunction with National Bullying Awareness and Prevention Month.Click here to access

  • Supporting Success for Young Children through Consistent School Attendance: A Free Toolkit - click here

  • Tips for Talking With and Helping Children and Youth Cope After a Disaster or Traumatic Event - click here

  • Sign of drug use - click here

Parenting Way Inc. Programs and Classes

Educating Parents through Trauma-Informed Classwork & Discussion
TO REGISTER: Call: 515-255-9490 Email: info@parentingway.org Online: www.parentingway.org Flier can be downloaded HERE

  • Parent Education Classes in POLK County – Cost is $10/class or $75/all 10 classes if paid at First class. Cost can be adjusted according to ability to pay. No one will be turned away for inability to pay.

Parenting Way, West Des Moines, IA 1211 Vine Street Suite 2140 Parent Education Classroom

Tuesdays from 6-8 pm

Instructor: Ben Burke

Parenting Way, West Des Moines, IA 1211 Vine Street Suite 2140 Parent Education Classroom

Thursdays from 12:30-2:30 pm

Instructor: Wendy Ryan

  • Parent Education Classes in BOONE County – NO COST

Des Moines Area Community College Campus (DMACC)1125 Hancock Dr. Boone IA 50036

Classes begin in July

Instructor: Ben Burke

  • Parenting Way Family Support Groups - NO COST

Grace Group- Adult, Youth & Children Groups

Grace United Methodist Church, Des Moines, IA 3700 Cottage Grove

Mondays from 6:00 to 7:30 pm

Group Conductor: Wendy Ryan

  • Parenting Way Children in Between (aka Children in the Middle) Classes in the Fifth Judicial Court District

Parenting Way, West Des Moines, IA 1211 Vine Street Suite 2140 Parent Education Classroom

Includes: Adair, Adams, Clarke, Dallas, Decatur, Guthrie, Jasper, Lucas, Madison, Marion, Polk, Ringgold, Taylor, Union, Warren, Wayne

Serves Parents who are divorcing and/or separated

2nd and 4th Wednesdays of the month from 5:00 to 9:00 pm

Cost is $50.00

Instructors: Corinne Grace & Ben Burke

  • Darkness 2 Light Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Training

Provided for Parents, School Staff, and Community Members. This is for Adults only.

Please call to schedule this 2-hour training. Cost is $25.00 to cover materials and workbooks.

No charge for Parents attending any other Parenting Way Programs

Certified D2L Trainer & Presenter: Ben Burke

  • Anger Management Classes

Parenting Way, West Des Moines, IA 1211 Vine Street Suite 2140 Parent Education Classroom

Provided for any Adult referred by service providers, court-ordered or self-referral.

Four Classes at 3 hours each. Must have a minimum of four students to hold Classes.

Cost is $120.00

Certified Instructor: Ben Burke

  • School-Based Parent Education Programs

A six-week parenting class focused on Parent Involvement at School and Home

Recovery Court is offering to mother's who have an open DHS case and a substance abuse problem. See the flier for the detail


Parents, not sure where to begin on your back to school list? Click HERE to see the health screening and immunization guidelines for Back to School Readiness. It includes EveryStep as a referral for those needing help connecting to health coverage or locating a doctor or dentist!


 PRAMS News (Pregnancy Risk Monitoring System)

The Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) is a surveillance project that collects state-specific, population-based data on maternal attitudes and experiances before, during, and shortly after pregnancy. PRAMS data can be used to identify groups of women and infants at high risk for health problems, to monitor changes in health status, and to measure progress towards goals in improving the helath of mothers and babies.

For more information on Iowa PRAMS, please visit here

To see the PRAMS Fall Newsletter click here


Support Programs Parents Parenting