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Supporting Families and Strengthening Communities

Mission Statement: Our vision is for Tama County to have strong families, safe children and concerned, caring adults.

Vision: We will be a catalyst by which our community works together to promote healthy children (age 0 – 18) and families in Tama County.

Purpose: We will seek to insure that children and families in Tama County receive instruction and support in the areas of tobacco prevention, substance abuse prevention, teen pregnancy prevention and child abuse prevention.

What We Know

  • Families are stronger when all members, including caregivers, are safe from abuse.
  • There is no substitute for strong families to ensure that children and youth grow up to be capable adults.
  • Families need supportive communities to help them be strong.
  • Children can best be kept safe when families, friends, residents, and organizations work together as partners.
  • Children should stay with their own families, whenever possible.
  • Services and supports need to be available earlier, before crises occur, and must be closely linked to the communities in which families live.
  • Government alone, through the public child protective services (CPS) agency, cannot keep children safe from abuse and neglect.
  • Efforts to reduce abuse and neglect must be closely linked to broader community initiatives and priorities.

What is needed

  • Members of the community to help!
  • What can we do better to protect children in our community?
  • How can we reach families before abuse occurs?

We know that no one agency can bear sole responsibility for keeping children safe.  It is our belief that protecting children is everyone’s concern.


Started as a statewide initiative in November, 2004, called Community Partnership for Protecting Children. The Community Partnership sites share the common goals of refocusing responsibility for the safety of children in their communities. Under this approach, service providers developed a plan aimed at preventing abuse before it occurs. Tama County identified the needs of the communities and began building collaborations and partnerships with other service agencies, programs, and groups that serve children.

In June, 2005 we changed our name to Tama County SKIP.  SKIP serves as an umbrella of prevention services already in place in Tama County. Under this umbrella it includes:

  • Teen Pregnancy Prevention
  • Substance Abuse Prevention
  • Child Abuse Prevention
  • Tobacco Use Prevention
  • Family Team Decision Making Meetings

The Four Strategies

The Four Strategies

Shared Decision Making

Shared decision making is what the SKIP Coalition is comprised of. SKIP assesses and responds to the needs of children and families in our local communities. This includes planning, implementing and evaluating strategies and activities for our local communities, and educating local community members about the importance of our communities and the benefits of our children being safe.

Community members are sharing the responsibility to keep children safe. Parents, youth and the Department of Health and Human Services are essential members in the local collaborations. Community members can include a wide range of community members, which include:

  • Private and public child welfare and juvenile justice
  • Parents and youth, including those that have “been through the system”
  • Education and early childhood
  • Physical and mental health
  • Domestic violence and substance abuse
  • Volunteers, non-profit, and faith-based
  • Law enforcement and legal
  • Local government
  • Business and civic organizations

Neighborhood/Community Networking

The community members that are willing to engage and educate the community regarding keeping our children safe and strengthening families. Partnerships help to build linkages and relationships for formal and informal support systems for families. These collaborations can lead to additional resources becoming available and more structured responses to identified community needs.

Individualized Course of Action

Every family has strengths and some families are challenged to determine what their strengths are and how to improve upon those strengths. Family team meetings can help to identify and build upon those strengths so families can successfully address issues they may be currently facing. The family team meetings begin with engaging and preparing families and their informal and formal support systems to come up with a tailor-made plan. It is family driven and is designed to support the family, ensure their safety and the well-being of their children. SKIP works closely with the school district and contracted staff to offer Family Team and Youth Transition Decision-Making Courses of Action.

Policy and Practice Change

How well families and children are being serviced is what is important to SKIP. The SKIP Coalition routinely assesses and identifies gaps and barriers and then determines programs to offer policy and practice changes or ways to influence families so they can be more unified.

Families who have had real life experiences with the child welfare system are key contributors to assist with policy and practice changes. By involving community members, families and youth conversations can be focused on ways to better serve families and to protect children from abuse.

SKIP Members

  • Tama County Public Health & Home Care
  • Tama County Iowa State University Extension and Outreach
  • Mid-Iowa Community Action
  • Meskwaki Police Department
  • Meskwaki Family Services
  • Wieting Theatre
  • Tama Police Department
  • Pathways – Tobacco & Gambling Prevention
  • Central Rivers AEA
  • ACCESS (Assault Care Center Extending Shelter and Support)
  • Parent Partners
  • South Tama County School District
  • Center Associates Mental Health Clinic
  • Department of Human Services
  • Tama County Juvenile Probation
  • Tama-Toledo News
  • Jasper, Poweshiek, Tama County DECAT
  • Substance Abuse Treatment of Central Iowa (SATUCI)
  • Child Abuse Prevention Services
  • Better Tomorrows ECI
  • Community Partners

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