July 2022 Volume 32; Issue 10

You can view the complete newsletter here.


From the Executive Director's Desk

July is the first month of the state of Iowa’s fiscal year. The Iowa legislature level funded most of our services for 2023. The state budget went up by a total of 1% as compared to the prior year. There are still federal funds available to Iowa through the COVID-19 allocations provided to states.

We were very pleased to hear that our competitive grant applications for Family Development & Self-Sufficiency (FaDSS) and Woman, Infant, and Children (WIC) were approved. Staff are very busy developing strategies to serve the additional counties provided for in these grants.

Construction for the expansion of our Head Start facility in Cherokee is nearly complete. Final touches are being done on both the interior and exterior. Things should be complete by the beginning of classes in September.

The Governor’s office and Iowa legislature are completing the merger of the Iowa Department of Human Services and Iowa Department of Public Health. This will most likely take some time to finalize. As more information is released we will see what impact this will have on communication and service systems. I am hopeful that there will be positive outcomes. There will be challenges with such a large agency as well.

The increase in gasoline prices will have an impact on all of our transportation needs. We will be looking at ways to keep those costs in line while meeting the needs of the families we serve.

Summer months will provide an opportunity for us to evaluate the potential funding available to us through county foundations and other sources. We will be looking at ways to improve facilities and to update equipment.

Have a great summer.

Dick Sievers
Executive Director


Head Start/Early Head Start

Early Head Start and Head Start programs can now consider SNAP recipients (food stamps) as categorically eligible for their programs. The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) has now expanded their interpretation of public assistance as those who receive SNAP benefits. A family can verify their SNAP eligibility by presenting a copy of the notice of approval for SNAP or showing their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT card) with the SNAP ID number to be eligible for services.

Categorically eligible means that families are determined to be eligible thru need rather than income, without consideration of income and resources as long as the household meets all other eligibility criteria, such as location, age, etc.

All types of allowances that are considered to be categorically eligible for EHS/HS (public assistance), would include Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), as well as SNAP eligibility. Also, those families experiencing homelessness and children who are in foster care are considered categorically eligible.

Early Head Start and Head Start are no-cost to parent programs that are designed to promote school readiness for lower income families. These programs promote physical, cognitive, social and emotional development in infants, toddlers and young children. Early Head Start/Head Start (EHS/HS) prepares parents to become their child’s primary educator and prepares children to succeed in school. Early Head Start serves pregnant moms and children up to the age of 2 in either home based or center-based programs, and Head Start services 3 & 4-year-old children in a center-based setting. Home based and center-based services are located in Cherokee, Ida, Lyon, Plymouth and Sioux counties.

According to Brookings.edu/research, they find that “Head Start not only enhances eventual educational attainment, but also has a lasting positive impact on behavioral outcomes including self-control and self-esteem. Furthermore, it improves parenting practices- potentially providing additional benefits to the next generation.”

Please spread the word to potential families about these great educational opportunities. To apply for these programs and or find out more about Early Head Start and Head Start call 800-859-2025.


Child Care Resource & Referral

CCR&R is excited to announce an extension of our services around supporting social-emotional behaviors and mental health within child care programs!

Our team will be focusing on:

  • Educating on the fundamentals of Practice-Based Coaching (PBC) and Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI)
  • Providing support to Child Care Consultants to help navigate challenging behaviors in child care programs
  • Partnering with Positive Behavior Intervention Support (PBIS) State Leadership Team (SLT) in supporting internal and external coaches participating in Iowa PBIS Program Wide
  • Implementing Early Childhood PBIS and Infant Toddler training modules online in Iowa
  • Infusing Program Wide into EC-PBIS Family Child Care curriculum

Please welcome the Statewide Social Emotional Behavior Mental Health (SEBMH) Curriculum Support Specialist Team!

Monique Ortiz, Curriculum and Social Emotional Behavior Mental Health (SEBMH) Curriculum Support Specialist Supervisor: “I am very excited about this next chapter in my role with CCR&R as we move forward with infusing coaching within CCR&R strategies to support IQ4K, ChildNet Certification and Program Wide Positive Behavior Intervention Support (PBIS), as well as other quality measures and curriculum around early childhood mental health.”

Paige Duncan, Statewide Social Emotional Behavior Mental Health (SEBMH) Curriculum Support Specialist: “I am very excited about this new position! I understand through my experience that the social-emotional well-being of children has been an area of increasing need for both providers and consultants. I also know that our system at CCR&R has been ever-growing and changing in this area and I am thrilled to be part of that growth while supporting the work of the Child Care Consultant and CCR&R!”

Jennifer Clark, Statewide Social Emotional Behavior Mental Health (SEBMH) Curriculum Support Specialist: “I am very excited about this new position, as I have a deep passion for early intervention and having a child with special needs has increased this passion further. I have witnessed mental health providers coming into my home to work with her and saw the differences they were making throughout her early years. I am looking forward to sharing my experience with you and making a difference in that space.”


Family Development & Self-Sufficiency

Effective July 1st, the Mid-Sioux Opportunity Family Development & Self-Sufficiency (FaDSS) Program is able to work with more families! Previously, to be eligible for FaDSS services a family needed to receive FIP. Among the eligibility criteria for the program now, families must have a gross income at or below 175% of the federal poverty guidelines and have at least one dependent child in the home. 

 Although eligibility has changed, the FaDSS Core Service Components remain the same and include:

  • Home Visits
  • Assessments
  • Goal Setting
  • Support/Advocacy
  • Referrals

The service area for the Mid-Sioux Opportunity FaDSS program has also changed July 1st and we are now serving families in Sac and Calhoun Counties, along with Ida, Cherokee, Plymouth, Sioux, and Lyon Counties. We were able to hire another full-time Specialist, Christy Eral, who will be working with families in Sac, Calhoun, Cherokee, and Ida Counties.  

If you know of a family who could use some extra support, please reach out to Laura Benson, FaDSS/Outreach Director at 712-786-3483.


Housing/Energy Services

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Mid-Sioux Opportunity, Inc. is a not-for-profit Community Action Agency established in 1965 to fight poverty at a local level by assisting low-income families in Northwest Iowa to become self-sufficient.

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