Text Box: Tama County Empowerment Area





Counties in Area (alphabetical order if more than one):    Tama


Contact for Area:  Name, address, phone, fax, e-mail, website address (if available)

Lori Johnson, Tama County Empowerment Coordinator, Tama County Public Health & Home Care

129 W. High Street, Toledo, IA 5 2342, (641) 484-4788, FAX: (641) 484-5447, ljohnson@tamacounty.org


Vision and Mission:

The Tama County Empowerment Area (TCEA) believes that: 

·          It is the responsibility of the community to support families in raising their children.  Experiences during the preschool years greatly influence individuals throughout their lives.

·          Parents are the first and most important teachers and models for their children. Parents need information and support from the community in meeting the developmental needs of their children.

·          Children need to be healthy in order to develop to their optimum potential.

·          Children need safe, secure, supporting and nurturing environments in their own homes, childcare homes or childcare centers to develop their optimum potential.

·          Children need enriching and stimulating experiences during the preschool years to develop their optimum potential and be ready for success in school.

·          It is important to value and respect individuality and cultural/ethnic/racial diversity.

·          All citizens regardless of socioeconomic status are entitled to quality education, health, and social services.

·          Children and families need quality and affordable childcare services to benefit their optimum potential.

·          Collaboration among service providers and families is necessary to maximize resources and assist families effectively and efficiently.

·          Family centered support is essential in order to help families develop to their optimum potential. 


The Tama County Empowerment Area partners are committed to working together and collaboratively developing a family centered support and service delivery system for children and families to help citizens’ lead happy, healthy and productive lives.


Community Plan Priorities:

·          Healthy Children                                                                  Safe, Secure Nurturing Families


Local Indicators (list):

·          Immunization Compliance %                                           # Of children covered by HAWK-I

·          # Of children born in Tama County                                  # Of children tested for lead

·          # Of children with high lead levels

·          # Of families completing pre survey on proper nutrition

·          # Of families completing post survey on proper nutrition

·          # Of enrolled in preschools (utilized immunization card audit statistics)

·          # Of families participating in parenting programs

·          # Of licensed and/or registered childcare providers

·          # Of alternative daycare providers


How we are collaborating to impact the priorities:


We are collaborating with local providers such as:  ISU Extension, Mid-Iowa Community Action, Tama County Public Health & Home Care, AEA 267, to eliminate duplication of services and to focus on our priorities by referring clients on to needed services.


Identify services/programs funded by Community Empowerment:

Early Childhood Fund


  • Child Care Consultant/materials/coordination, Training and Retainment,            Liability Insurance, Provider Incentives,  Training Sessions

School Ready Fund





  • Home Visitation,  Health Care Coordination, Empowerment Coordinator                   Infant Toddler Specialist, Family Nutrition Specialist, Stork’s Nest, Healthy Families Coordinator, Dental Hygienist, Interpreter, Developmental Screening, Preschool & Respite Scholarships, Dues & Memberships
  • Lead Care Coordination





Text Box: Tama County Empowerment Area





Key Identified Need/Priority: Parenting Education and Support


Measurable Goal:    Increased knowledge reported after education given, Increase in client participation


Why this important:  In February 2001, the strangulation and mutilation of a newborn infant (“Baby Chelsea”) by her desperate teenage mother in our county.  The baby was found near the Chelsea water tower, across the street from her mother’s home, face down in the snow wearing only a blue scarf.  Attempting to dispose of the infant and evidence of the offense, she attempted to conceal the child’s body, by burning it.  The baby’s mother was described as a junior, who was a popular girl who played for South Tama Junior Varsity Basketball Team, was quite, nearly a straight-A student who was college-bound, and had received academic letters of achievement.

     Tama County has a high incidence of teen pregnancies, low birth weight babies, high poverty rates, high substance abuse rates, lack of drug-alcohol free activities, high child abuse rates, low high school graduation rates, high minority out of home placements, and is seeing an increasing acceptance of violence.

     State Result Linkage:

Key Community Indicator(s):

(Baseline and trend information)

FY 2000

FY 01

FY 02

FY 03

Current FY

# Of Births to Teens






# Of Out-of-Wedlock Births






% Of low birth weight babies






% Of Children eligible for Free & Reduced Lunches






Per Capita Income






# Of Alcohol-Related Traffic Fatalities






# Of Charges of Operating Motor Vehicle While Under the Influence of Alcohol/Drugs






# Of children in Confirmed Report of Neglect and Abuse






# Of 9th to 12th grade, no diploma

1031/ 8.5%





     Based on the 2002 Youth Survey Data, 25% of the Tama County Youth report there are not enough good places to go that are alcohol and drug-free.

     The 2002 Iowa Youth Survey for Tama County revealed an increase in the acceptance of alcohol and drug abuse among the younger age groups. When given the statement, “It is against my values to use alcohol and drugs as a teenager,” 12% of 6th graders disagreed; up fro 8% in 1999.  For 8th graders, 22% disagreed with the statement; up from 17% in 1999.  Forty-one percent of Tama County eighth graders reported drinking more than a few sips of alcohol by 14 years of age.  For all three grades surveyed, the number of youth trying alcohol by 14 years of age was higher (35%) than the weighted state average (32%).  Alcohol and drug abuse appears to continue through adulthood in Tama County.

     10% of Tama county Youth report having tried huffing by 14 years of age, as reported on the 2002 Iowa Youth Survey.  The state average is 6%.  Five percent of Tama County Youth report having huffed within the past 30 days; higher than the 1% state average.  Since the beginning of the 2005 – 2006 school year, school officials in one Tama County School District report 5 suspensions due to huffing.

     Tama County has a large Hispanic and Native American population (19% of the 0 – 17 year old population).  The highest minority population in out-of-home placement in the JPT (Jasper, Poweshiek, and Tama) Decategorization cluster is Native American.  5.2% of Family Centered and Family Foster Care Placements in the JPT Project Area are American Indian; 1.9% of the State Foster Placements are American Indian.  Also, according to juvenile court data, 26% of the youth served a petition were American Indian in Tama County; less than 1% of State of Iowa youth had a petition filed.

     When given the statement, “Violence is the worst way to solve problems,” youth responding disagree increased significantly from the 1999 Iowa Youth Survey to the 2002 Youth Survey in Tama County.  There was a 10% increase in Tama County 6th graders reporting violence is an acceptable way to solve problems.

     Service, Product or Activity to impact the Key Need/Priority:

Performance Measure(s)

(Baseline and trend information)

FY 02

FY 03

FY 04

Current FY 2005

# Of families participating in parenting programs

    FY2000 Baseline will be pre-survey results

    FY 2002 Stork’s Nest Enrollment

June 30th 28 enrolled in Stork’s Nest.  17 families were enrolled in MICA’s Early Head Start Program, 8 were enrolled in the Tama Healthy Families Parents as Teachers Program. 

14 families were enrolled in MICA’s Early Head Start Program.  39 children were enrolled in MICA’s Head Start Program.  19 families were enrolled in Tama Healthy Families Parents as Teachers Program.  100 enrolled in Stork’s Nest Program.

16 families were enrolled in MICA’s Early Head Start Program.  30 families were enrolled in the Healthy Families Program.  Surveys of parents involved in on-going home visits showed that they felt more confident as parents as a result of their participation.  Comments included:  “I am more calm”, “I learned what babies can do”, “I know now how to play safely with my baby”; “I got my questions answered”; “I like socializations.”.  Evaluations from the parenting classes indicated parents felt supported by sharing with other parents.  They learned new ideas for effective discipline, and learned new ways to communicate with their children.  184 enrolled in Stork’s Nest Program.  Have seen a dramatic increase in the need and use of the Stork’s Nest Program.  Enrollment increased by 650% from the initial enrollment.

13 families (14 children) were enrolled in MICA’s home-based Early Head Start Program.  47 were enrolled in Tama Healthy Families with 244 home visits being provided.

7 families attended a 4 session parenting class.  3 attended socializations offered.  Families surveyed reported gains in parenting knowledge of 9 on a scale of 1 – 10.  44 were enrolled in center- based Head Start preschool.  206 enrolled in the Stork’s Nest Program.  Continue to see a dramatic increase in the need and use of the Stork’s Nest Program.  735% increase from the initial enrolment.

Analysis of the Data/ Factors affecting the data:   Use of incentives as “rewards” has increased client participation in Stork’s Nest Program. We have seen a 12% increase in the Stork’s Nest Program this last fiscal year.      We have seen a 57% increase in the Health Families Program this last fiscal year.  As client participation increases, parent education increases.