April 2023 Volume 33; Issue 7

You can view the complete newsletter here.


From the Executive Director's Desk

April is a time for renewal as the weather turns warmer and we begin to think of outdoor activity. This month, we will be finalizing preparations for the annual meeting on May 5th. It is good that we have the opportunity to meet with staff, board members and community partners. We will also be completing the community needs assessment, which is an evaluation of our needs since the last assessment in 2020. After the assessment, we will be preparing our strategic plan for the next five years.

As we come out of the COVID-19 pandemic, issues around: child care, health/dental care, housing, energy and nutrition are still high on the list for service delivery needs. Funding through COVID relief dollars is either spent or will be within the next 12-18 months. Inflation is still a reality as well. I’m certain these needs will be addressed in our community assessment and strategic plan.

We will have the opportunity to evaluate local grant potential over the spring and summer months. County foundations, United Way and the Lyon County Riverboat Casino are a few of the opportunities we will evaluate. Funds have been awarded to us in past years for: county crisis funds, facility improvements, equipment updates, etc.

I hope these next few weeks provide us with the opportunity to enjoy some time outdoors.

Dick Sievers
Executive Director


If you know of anyone interested in joining our team, they can apply at: www.midsioux.org under ‘Employment’ and view our openings. They can also contact Miranda directly with any questions pertaining to the open positions:

Miranda Monroy, HR Director
Email: mmonroy@midsioux.org
Phone: 712-386-3421


Head Start/Early Head Start

Free Preschool Programs for your 3 & 4 year old. Centers are located in Akron, Cherokee, Ida Grove, LeMars, Orange City, Rock Rapids, Rock Valley and Sioux Center. A Child Development Center is located in Hawarden.

Check the picture to go to our webpage for more information and to apply.


Child Care Collaborative of Iowa

Child Care Collaborative of Iowa is the home to Financial Management Consultants (FMCs). Our consultants work with registered Child Development Homes, licensed Centers or Department of Education Preschools in Iowa to support the business side of child care. We have been lucky enough to bundle our supports into one package - when programs in Iowa choose to work with us they are able to sign up to use a Child Care Management System (CCMS)… either brightwheel or Playground.

Currently, programs that sign up for one of the CCMS, will get up to one year of that CCMS subscription cost for free, along with one year of working with an FMC. When working with their FMC, the program will be able to apply for a reimbursable grant (up to $1000) for technology needs around their CCMS. During that year of working with their consultant, the programs could be working on a variety of different things including budgets, tuition rates or other business practices. Some programs are choosing to look long term and make some business goals for the future, while other programs are looking to start implementing electronic billing and fee collection. The Financial Management Consultants of Child Care Collaborative of Iowa are working to strengthen business practices and improve the quality of child care.

Child Care Collaborative of Iowa launched in October 2022 with two staff and zero child care programs enrolled. Since then, we have grown! We now have 11 staff around the state, supporting more than 500 child care programs who have signed up. We support big centers, small centers, Child Development Homes and Department of Education programs with participation! These programs are working with an FMC to better their business practices and they are connecting with other brightwheel or Playground users in Iowa with Peer to Peer connection groups. Some programs are starting to electronically bill or collect payment for the first time - this can be a big time saver for child care programs and we are proud to be able to support this effort!

The data bridge between brightwheel and Playground to the KinderTrack Child Care Assistance site is live and programs using either CCMS are able to emulate the steps of reporting attendance on the KinderTrack site! This has led to providers having more time to invest in their programs and spend more time with the children.

If this is a program you would be interesting in learning more about:

Don't forget to follow CCCI on Facebook for the scoop on how to strengthen business practices!


WIC/Maternal Health Programs

Wow! It’s hard to believe that here we are, already into April! This means we have officially survived our transition to serving a ten-county service area and hopefully, we’ve also officially survived the crazy winter months of snow, ice and wind. What a challenge it has been! A huge shout-out to our staff for their patience and perseverance during the past six months!

Due to the Iowa Health & Human Service transition to Collaborative Service Areas (CSAs), many changes have occurred in our department, over the past six months. As you know, Mid-Sioux no longer administers the Child & Adolescent Health grant. This grant also included Hawki, I-Smile and I-Smile@School services. This was a very difficult decision and definitely was not taken lightly. Cherokee Regional Healthcare now administers these services. Discussions are taking place to implement collaborative partnerships with local public health agencies who will be providing direct care services (leads, oral health screenings, developmental screenings, etc.) that were previously provided by Mid-Sioux’s Child Health staff.

Over the past six months, some of the changes in Mid-Sioux’s WIC program include:

  • Going from a Five-County Service Area to a Ten-County Service Area. The service area now includes the counties of: Cherokee, Clay, Dickinson, Emmet, Lyon, Plymouth, O’Brien, Osceola, Palo Alto and Sioux.
  •  Increasing the Number of Traveling WIC Clinic Sites: We increased the number of sites from eight to thirteen. On a monthly basis, WIC clinics are held in the following communities: Estherville, Le Mars (two days/month), Spirit Lake, Orange City, Rock Rapids, Spencer (two day/month), Sioux Center (two day/month), Cherokee, Sibley, Rock Valley, Emmetsburg, Hawarden and Sheldon.
  • Increasing Monthly Program Participates: In FY’22, Mid-Sioux’s WIC program served approximately 1,598 participants per month. Year-to-date, in FY’23, Mid-Sioux’s WIC program is serving approximately 2,735 participants per month.
  • Opening Satellite Office: Due to the large service delivery area, a satellite Mid-Sioux WIC office was opened in Spencer. This office currently houses four WIC staff. While the Remsen and Spencer office site have a core group of clinics they routinely cover; staff from the two offices also help cover one another’s clinic sites. Their willingness to travel and cover the entire service area has been greatly appreciated!

Collaborative efforts and discussions are also taking place to expand Mid-Sioux’s Maternal Health program into the additional six-county service area. The delivery model may look different in the additional six counties due to current Home-Visiting programs that are in place.

Again, a huge shout-out to our WIC staff for all they have done to make the transition from a five-county service delivery area to a ten-county service area go smoothly. We couldn’t deliver services without having our computer systems and internet services operational, so a special shout out to our IT staff at CSI, also!

We’re all excited for Spring and are looking forward to traveling to clinic sites without worrying about snow, ice and difficult road conditions!


Cherokee County Outreach Office

 The Cherokee Outreach office is open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 8:00AM-4:30PM. Food baskets can be picked up during this time. We are taking applications to help families through the crisis program with heat, electricity and water.

We continue to take applications for the Low-income Home Energy Assistance Program (LiHEAP) through April. As mentioned above, these applications can be done very easily over the telephone and supporting documentation can be provided to us by fax, email, or text. It only takes a few minutes!

We’ve begun taking Head Start applications for the upcoming preschool season (September 2023 through May 2024). Head Start is a free, federally funded program for preschool children. It provides children with activities that help them grow mentally, socially, emotionally, and physically. If you know of anyone that has children 3-4 years of age, please send them our way!

We can help interested family’s sign-up for WIC services in Cherokee County. WIC is for pregnant women, infants, and children under the age of five. WIC provides information on how to keep your family healthy. They also provide checks to buy healthy foods for free!
For all program applications, please give us a call. We can tell you everything you need to complete an application. Our phone number in Cherokee is: 712-225-3322.

Written by


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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