February 2024 Volume 34; Issue 5

You can view the complete newsletter here.


From the Executive Director's Desk

February is the 5th month of the agency fiscal year and the last month of the Head Start/Early Head Start contract year. Head Start/Early Head Start staff have been busy with preparing for their Federal Monitoring Reviews. The CLASS review was completed on February 20th. Staff submitted videos of classrooms to be reviewed by the Federal Monitoring team. Staff are now preparing for the Focus Area 2 Review and are expecting this visit to occur within the next couple of months. Head Start/Early Head Start recruitment for the 2024-25 school year is also underway!

Legislative activity is picking up at the state capitol with the completion of the first funnel week of the 2024 Legislative Session. AEA services, Medicaid coverage for postpartum women, teacher salaries, taxes, and a review of Boards and Commissions are high on the priority list. In addition, there are bills for the Governor’s proposal to realign Iowa’s Behavioral Health Services System (BHSS). The proposed bills require Iowa Health & Human Services to divide the state into BHHS regions and to designate an administrative services organization to oversee each region. Iowa’s Community Action Agencies hosted a Legislative Breakfast at the Capitol on February 14th. Thank you to the local legislators who stopped by to learn about the valuable work community action agencies do in communities across Iowa.

Progress is being made on the federal budget with the Continuing Resolution deadlines being just weeks away. Grant applications for WIC and Maternal Health will be prepared over the next couple of months. LiHEAP (Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program) applications continue to be accepted to assist families with their heating utilities.

This month we will finalize our annual audit report and will submit the agency tax return. Thank you to Tammy Nilles and Shannon Hofmann for all their help in preparing reports and gathering documents for the auditors.

The longer daylight hours remind us that Spring is just around the corner! I’m anxious to be able to enjoy the warm weather!

Cindy Harpenau
Executive Director


Child Care Resource & Referral

Congratulations to Ali Van Veldhuizen, RN

Ali completed the Iowa Training Project for Child Care Nurse Consultants. Child Care Nurse Consultants are registered nurses who are experts in child health, child care, and child safety. Ali received special training to assist and support child care and early education providers to meet Iowa and national health and safety standards by providing on-site visits, technical assistance, training and care planning for children with special health needs. Providers may also contact Ali about health and safety policies, health records, health resources and specific child health or safety concerns. Ali supports child care providers in O’Brian, Osceola, Clay, Dickinson, Emmet, Palo Alto, Emmet, and Kossuth counties.


Family Development & Self-Sufficiency

FaDSS staff Laura Benson, Katie Vis, and April Chindlund, along with Executive Director Cindy Harpenau, recently attended the annual FaDSS Day on the Hill on January 25th at the State Capitol in Des Moines. We are always appreciative of the time Legislators take out of their day to visit with us and learn more about the services we provide.

Discussions with Legislators focused on the basics of FaDSS and that we support families to achieve economic self-sufficiency, family stability, and empower families to develop informal support networks. The FaDSS program not only saves the state of Iowa money, it creates a culture of economic independence benefiting families, communities, and the state for years to come. FaDSS helps people enter the workforce by overcoming or minimizing barriers. With many programs to fund, each year we do our best to show the positive impact FaDSS has on the Iowa economy and on Iowa’s most fragile families.

Some highlights of Mid-Sioux’s FaDSS program for FY ’23 are below:

  • Return on investment is around $2.01 for every $1.00 invested in the program.
  • 40% of families were involved in activities to increase their work preparedness skills.
  • 20% of families were employed at time of entry and 40% were employed at exit.
  • FaDSS staff completed 407 home and quality visits with families, along with 854 significant contacts.



Hello from the Plymouth County Outreach office!

While the weather might be starting to warm up, many families are still in need of Energy Assistance, especially with the fluctuation in temperatures. Energy and Emergency Propane Assistance applications have been keeping us busy, but we know there are still many families to reach. The Low-income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) goes until April 30th, so there is still time to call and schedule an appointment and apply for the program.

We have begun to take applications for the 2024/25 school year for Head Start enrollment. We will be in full swing with Head Start applications for the next several months. Head Start is our free preschool program for 3 and 4-year-olds. We are taking applications by phone or in-person. We are also holding an enrollment on Tuesday, February 27th from 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM at the LeMars Head Start Center. Applications will be taken during this time as well.

Both the LiHEAP and Head Start application processes are fairly simple and you can apply for programs at the same time!

The Akron Outreach office and food pantry continue to be open the second Tuesday of the month from 9:30 AM to 11:30 AM. You can also call us at: 712-546-6603.

The Le Mars Outreach Office is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 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.

Human Resources

We are hiring! (click link to visit our website and apply today)


Resource Requests

Click the picture or visit this link to request Mid-Sioux resources!


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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