Our Services

Women, Children and Family Services


1st Five

1st Five, Healthy Mental Development Initiative is a project funded by the Iowa Legislature to assist medical practitioners in providing social/emotional, family stress and parental depression screenings to children during well-child medical exams. If a red-flag is detected through this screening process, the family is then linked to VNS of Iowa for care coordination services. These care coordination services are offered to address the needs of the entire family.

1st Five understands that the health and well being of family members directly impacts the health of an infant or young child. After resource and referral information is provided to the family, the VNS of Iowa Care Coordinator then apprises the referring medical provider to the outcome of the referral. Call 515.558.9954 for more information.

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Care for Kids Program

The VNS of Iowa's Care for Kids Program - an Early Periodic Screening, Diagnosis & Treatment (EPSDT) program - serves all residents of Polk County. (EPSDT is the benefit package of Medicaid/Title 19 for individuals under age 21 years.) The focus of our EPSDT, Care for Kids, is to link individuals to:

  • Preventive health care, including regular medical, dental, vision and hearing checkups;
  • Treatment for health problems identified during regular check-ups that includes health care specialists and mental health services;
  • Assistance with overcoming barriers to health care, such as transportation and interpretation services;
  • Community resources that help to improve the health and well being of individuals in the program (WIC, Early Access, parenting classes, child care assistance, housing assistance, etc.)

For questions about Care for Kids, call 283-1422.

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Community Voices Interpretation Services

VNS of Iowa has provided interpretation services to our own clients since 1998. Our interpreters are a gateway for non-English speaking clients to understand available services and resources, which is essential in helping Iowa’s refugee population survive and thrive. Community Voices interpreters can help improve client satisfaction, workflow efficiencies and billing opportunities when working with clients who have communication barriers. Carefully recruited, our interpreters have intimate, first-hand knowledge of not only the cultures within our community but also the struggles and challenges families face when resettling in the United States.

Community Voices prides itself on providing dependable and accurate interpretation services to you at competitive rates. As a non-profit program, all proceeds benefit the communities served by our parent organization, VNS of Iowa. Our interpreters:

  • provide interpretation services in more than 19 languages and dialects
  • are native speakers with in-depth language and cultural knowledge.
  • have a solid foundation of knowledge regarding the community’s health and human services programs.
  • are immersed in their community and are able to help clients, ranging from newly-arrived families to families who are well on their way to an independent lifestyle.
  • are empathetic and compassionate, desiring the best outcomes for each client.

For more information, please call Community Voices at 515.557.9008 or email jilln@vnsia.org

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Nurse Family Partnership Program

The Nurse Family Partnership Program matches first-time parents with a Nurse Home Visitor who provides ongoing education and support beginning during the mother’s pregnancy and continuing until the child turns two years old.  For more information about the Nurse Family Partnership Program, please call (515) 558-9946. 

Ana describes her experience as a first-time mom working with the Nurse Family Partnership Program. Watch the video on YouTube.

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Early ACCESS (part of the Iowa Family Support Network) is a VNS of Iowa program funded and administered by the Iowa Department of Education and the Iowa Department of Public Health.

The purpose of Early ACCESS is to serve as the central point of contact and directory for families. Early ACCESS assists families and providers in connecting with Early ACCESS and community-based services that address specialized child and family needs through a user-friendly system that includes a website, toll-free telephone service and a single point of contact to provide facilitation of resources and referrals.

Early ACCESS is Iowa's free statewide information and referral service for people with disabilities, their families, their service providers and other members of the community. Information specialists are available via telephone and e-mail, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Call us at 1-888-IAKIDS1 (1-888-425-4371) for more information or visit www.IaFamilySupportNetwork.org.

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Family Team Meeting Facilitation

As trained facilitators, VNS of Iowa staff leads Family Team Meetings - gatherings of family members, friends, community specialists and other interested individuals - to strengthen the family and ensure the safety of children. The Family Team Meeting has a specific purpose such as returning a child safely to the family/home, resolving issues of suspension or expulsion from school, substance abuse or mental health issues. Services include:

  • Assisting a family with preparations prior to a Family Team Meeting
  • Providing facilitation for Family Team Meetings
  • Providing assistance with the development of a Family Plan
  • Assisting in identifying and engaging community resources best suited to the family's strengths and needs
  • Conducting follow-up or follow-up meetings as appropriate.

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Healthy Start and Empowerment Family Support Projects

The VNS of Iowa Healthy Start and Empowerment Family Support Projects provide case management services to families in need in Polk County who are pregnant or have a child up to the age of six. Case management services include:

  • Home visits
  • Prenatal, post partum and parenting education
  • Child development screening and education
  • Perinatal depression screening and referral
  • Support groups
  • Referrals to community resources and support in accessing services
  • English as a Second Language (ESL) classes including transportation and child care
  • Parent involvement opportunities

Bilingual case managers and interpreters are available for primarily Arabic, Spanish and Vietnamese speakers. Referrals can be made by a physician, social worker, family member or friend.

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I-Smile Program

The I-Smile Program provides oral health screenings, oral health education, nutrition education relating to oral health, fluoride varnish application, and a referral to a dentist for comprehensive dental needs. The program serves pregnant women and children under the age of 21 residing in Polk, Mahaska, Jasper, Poweshiek, Clinton and Jackson Counties. We assist families when they need:

• to find a dental home or dental coverage for their child
• assistance to set up appointments with the dentist or find dentists who accept Medicaid
• help transporting their child to the dental appointment
• translation services regarding their dental care

For more information, please contact the I-Smile Program at (515) 557-9023 for Polk, Mahaska, Jasper and Poweshiek Counties and (515) 661-3715 for Clinton and Jackson Counties, or visit www.ismiledentalhome.iowa.gov.

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Maternal Child Health Outreach

The VNS of Iowa Maternal Child Health Outreach Program has Outreach Specialists who assist uninsured families, children and pregnant women in obtaining health care coverage, finding a doctor and finding a dentist. Bi-lingual outreach specialists who speak Spanish and English are located at the HOLA Center at 618 East 18th Street, and English-speaking outreach specialists are located at the VNS of Iowa main office. Other languages are served with the use of VNS interpreters. Program assistance includes:

  • Answering questions on free or low-cost health insurance options
  • Facilitating the hawk-i or Medicaid process
    • Assist with completion of application
    • Advocate on client's behalf
    • Serve as a liaison as needed
  • Explaining additional programs that families may be eligible for
  • Providing community referrals as needed
  • Helping enroll on VNS Dental Voucher Program if:
    • A child is under 21years old
    • Has no dental insurance
    • Lives in Polk County
    • Meets income requirements
    • Has never participated in the program

The VNS of Iowa Maternal Child Health Outreach Team is a proud partner of the Healthcare Coverage for Kids Coalition that provides hawk-i and Medicaid outreach throughout Polk County. For questions or assistance, call 558-9946 for English speaking services, and 229-HOLA (4652) for Spanish speaking services.

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Maternal Child Health Program

The VNS of Iowa Maternal Child Health Program provides nursing visits to pregnant and parenting women living in Polk County. Registered nurses and a registered dietician provide:

  • Prenatal and post partum health education
  • Child development screening and education
  • Perinatal depression screening and referral
  • Referrals to community resources
  • Nutrition counseling
  • Family planning counseling
  • Interpretation services available upon request

Referrals can be made by a physician, social worker, family member, friend, or as a self-referral. Please contact our intake nurse at 515-558-9946 for more information.

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Navigating the Health Insurance Marketplace

The new Health Insurance Marketplace helps uninsured people find health coverage. Our dedicated navigators are trained and licensed by the Iowa Insurance Division to help you understand your health coverage options. We then help you enroll in a Marketplace plan that meets your needs and fits your budget.

Marketplace open enrollment takes place from November 15, 2014 through February 15, 2015. For more information, or to meet with one of our navigators, please call us at 515-288-1516. Click here to see a list of upcoming navigator events.


Strong Foundations: Therapy and Support Solutions

Strong Foundations: Therapy and Support Solutions offers individual, couples and family counseling. Our skilled therapists offer expertise and support when you need it most. Counseling services can be used to address any number of challenges including stress management, relationship issues, communication, parenting and any other situations causing distress. Specialized programs include Personal Therapy, Play Therapy, Family Peer Support, Adult Peer Support and Behavioral Health Intervention Services.

Please visit the Strong Foundations website for more information:  strongfoundationstherapy.org.  You may also call 515-558-6251 or email info@sftherapy.org

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Stork's Nest

The VNS of Iowa Stork's Nest is an educational incentive program. Pregnant women who reside in Polk County and who meet program income guidelines may enroll in the Stork's Nest. Participants earn points for healthy behaviors such as keeping medical appointments, WIC participation, breastfeeding and school attendance. These points are redeemed for needed baby items such as diapers, clothing, strollers, cribs and car seats. Call 515-558-9950 for more information.

Want to throw a shower? Contact Sara at 515-558-9950 for more information on how you can benefit mothers in need! Click here to view our Stork’s Nest Wish List.

Watch a video about the Stork's Nest on YouTube.

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Storybook Project

The Storybook Project recruits, screens and trains volunteers to work with incarcerated parents and/or grandparents at the Iowa Correctional Institute for Women (ICIW) in Mitchellville, Iowa and the Newton Correctional Release Center (CNRC) in Newton, Iowa. Once per month, volunteers work with the mother, grandmother or father. The parent/grandparent and volunteer choose a book from the Storybook library that is appropriate for the child. The parent or grandparent reads the book while the volunteer records the reading onto a digital voice recorder. The book and CD are mailed to the child. If you are interested in volunteering or contributing to the Storybook Project, call 515-288-1516.

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Transportation Services

VNS of Iowa provides transportation services to children and families for the purpose of keeping medical and dental appointments as well as keeping mental health appointments. Those eligible include children under the age of 21 who are enrolled in Medicaid/Title 19. We recommend that the requests for assistance be made at least two working days before an appointment. The number to call to arrange for transportation is 515-558-9972.

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Notice of VNS of Iowa Privacy Practices for Protected Health Information 

This notice describes how medical information about you may be used and disclosed and how you can get access to this information. View the Notice of Privacy Practices here.

Making a Difference for Families
Risa Barker is a case manager with the Family Safety, Risk and Permanency Services Program (FSRP) at VNS of Iowa. Risa recently completed her work with a family whose three children had been removed because the parents and their newborn baby had tested positive for methamphetamines. She connected the parents to resources in the community that would provide them additional assistance, even when the relapsed during the process. Risa worked with the parents to give them the support they needed while holding them accountable for their actions and the steps they needed to take to reunite their family.

With Risa's help, both parents have learned to manage their addictions and are taking steps to further their success. Their family has been reunited, and they're very grateful to have support from the Family Safety, Risk and Permanency Services Program to get themselves back on track as sober, responsible parents.