February 2022 Volume 32; Issue 5
You can view the complete newsletter here.
From the Executive Director's Desk
February is the last month of the Head Start/Early Head Start contract year. We have just completed a review of Focus Area 1 in the Head Start/Early Head Start monitoring system. That area is Program Design, Management and Quality Improvement. Kendra Rensink and department staff as well as Sharon Heidesch and management personnel participated in the review. We will receive a final report in 30-60 days. I do not expect any concerns as the review went very well. Thanks to all the staff for their work in preparing for this process. We will have an on-site review next year as part of the on-going monitoring process.
Legislative activity is picking up at the state capital. Childcare, taxes and workforce issues are high on the priority list. Community action will have input into these topics as we work to support the needs of lower income Iowans. The legislators are planning to end the session on time which means issues will be dealt with fairly quickly.
Grant applications for WIC, Maternal/Child & Adolescent Health, FaDSS and Child Care are being prepared over the next few months. This will be a very busy time for staff. Mid-Sioux has a strong history in all of these areas.
Construction has started on our Cherokee Head Start expansion. Walls are up and the warmer weather has helped to move the project along. We hope to see completion in early spring. The LIHEAP program is able to provide larger award amounts this year due to the COVID-19 relief efforts. This should be very beneficial to families as the cost of home heating has gone up significantly this year.
Spring is just around the corner (March 20th). We have had a fairly mild winter. I’m hoping that continues!
Head Start/Early Head Start
Sign up now for the FREE Head Start & Child Development Center Preschool Programs!
Kindergarten readiness for 3 & 4 year old children
Visit www.midsioux.org or call 800-859-2025 for an application.
Give your child a “Head Start” in their education!
Family Development and Self-Sufficiency
Generally, by this time of the year our FaDSS team has completed their annual visit to the State Capitol Building in Des Moines for our annual Iowa Family Development Alliance (IFDA) Day on the Hill event. During that event, we had the opportunity to meet with area Legislators and provide information pertaining to our program. We have always enjoyed this event and the opportunity to visit in-person with Legislators. Last year, due to COVID-19, each FaDSS grantee provided the information electronically to Legislators serving their areas. This year, IFDA has put together a Virtual Day on the Hill event. Along with emailing information to Legislators, we are also holding a Zoom meeting on Friday, February 18th for each region of the state. Staff from FaDSS grantees will be present to provide information and answer any questions Legislators may have. Success stories from FaDSS participants will also be played during these meetings.
FaDSS is one of Iowa’s best investment to prepare families with a limited income and barriers to education, work, and self-sufficiency to become employed, increase family income, achieve education milestones, and save the state money through decreased Family Investment Program (FIP) cash assistance.
Last year we were so appreciative that the Iowa Legislature and Governor approved an increase for the FaDSS Program. It marked the first increase for the program in six years! This year, the Iowa Community Action Association is recommending a modest provider increase to allow local FaDSS agencies to keep up with increasing costs.
Below are a few statistics from fiscal year 2021:
- Statewide, in FY 21 families exiting FaDSS decreased their average monthly FIP amount by 63%.
- Mid-Sioux Opportunity’s Return on Investment was $1.58 last year. This is calculated by wages earned and FIP savings. This does not include that every dollar earned in wages is regenerated in to the community five to six times.
- 67% of families in Mid-Sioux’s FaDSS program participated in work preparedness activities.
- Mid-Sioux FaDSS staff had 838 contacts with families in the program during FY 21.
As is the case each year, we know Legislators have many tough decisions to make. We hope decision makers will continue to agree that investing in FaDSS is an investment in Iowa’s future.
Hello from the Plymouth County Outreach office!!! With these cold temperatures we have been busy with LIHEAP applications and emergency propane assistance. Don’t forget if you have not come in and applied for LIHEAP, you still have time to call and schedule your appointment this program goes until April 30th.
We have begun to take applications for school year 2022/23 Head Start enrollment. We will be in full swing with Head Start applications for the next several months. Head Start, is our free pre-school program for 3 and 4 year olds. We will be taking applications by phone or in person.
Akron’s food pantry appointments can be set up by calling Deb McPherson at 712-548-6592.
The Le Mars Outreach Office is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays 9:00 AM- 4:00 PM. You can reach us at 712-546-6603, or 1-800-859-2025. You can always reach us on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays in our Cherokee office at 712-225-3322.