Family Connection FAQ

Get answers to all your questions and other frequently asked questions.

The Parents as Teachers model is a unique combination of research, education and empowerment. In practice, our methods are proven to help caregivers connect with their child’s early development and build a lifetime foundation for academic success.  For more than 30 years, our evidence-based model has been the subject of numerous peer-reviewed studies. Together, these studies demonstrate incredible outcomes for caregivers and children: better health, more quality time together and a strong foundation of academic readiness.

Frequently Asked Question (FAQ)

Yes, the Family Connection has strict confidentiality policies to ensure your private information. Some of the information we collect, such as race, education level, and income, is used only in reports for our funders. We will only share information about your family if we have to make a child abuse report. Family Connection staff members are mandatory child abuse reporters.

The State of Iowa requires professional staff in the helping professions to report child abuse. These professions include teachers, nurses, daycare providers, social workers, and home visitors. Family Connection staff are home visitors. If something has happened in your home and your child was injured or at risk of harm or injury, we are required by law to call the Department of Health and Human Services and make a report.

No, we are not qualified to make a diagnosis. We use the Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ) to screen children. The ASQ outlines concepts, skills, language, and other functions that a child should be able to complete at a particular age. For example, the ASQ will ask if a child who is 2 can turn the pages of a book independently. If a child scores in the concerned area in the ASQ, we will look at options with a family. Options could include focusing visits on one particular area of development, a follow-up appointment with a family doctor, or a referral to the Area Education Agency. We provide support and education if your child is determined to be delayed in development or is diagnosed with a disability.

The Family Connection is free! We do not charge for our services and group programs. In fact, you can earn points by participating and using those points to “buy” incentives such as diapers, wipes, diaper creams, baby blankets, and laundry detergent.

Part of the Family Connection program is to help families with needed items that are sometimes hard to purchase. A family earns points by meeting with a home visitor, attending a Family Connection group, or participating in a community event like Stride Into Summer. The Family Connection keeps various items available for families, such as diapers, wipes, diaper creams, sunscreen, bibs, blankets, laundry detergent, hygiene items, and dish soap. Families can cash in their points for items that they want or need. By far, the most common use of incentive points is for diapers and wipes.

Family Connection can start working with a family when a pregnancy is discovered. Our curriculum begins with prenatal support and education. We meet once a month with prenatal families and twice a month after the baby arrives. We can work with families with children up to 5 years old or ready to start kindergarten. The Parents as Teachers curriculum provides information for children completing their fifth (5th) year. So, we work with families with babies from the prenatal stage up to kindergarten age.

We provide services anywhere in Henry or Washington Counties in Iowa. If you do not live in our service area but are interested in services, please reach out, and we’ll connect you to a similar program in your area!

A home visitor is a trained professional who provides education and support to families in their homes. All Family Connection staff have earned a college degree, been trained in the Parents as Teachers program, and received a Family Support Certification. Training for the certification includes information about child development; parent-child interaction; health, safety, and nutrition; family relationships; and cultural competency. Other training for Family Connection staff includes topics such as preventing sexual abuse, goal setting, recognizing domestic violence, mental health awareness, and other information specific to child development.

The Family Connection also provides a monthly group for parents and children. Each group contains an educational component, a parent-child activity, the opportunity to “move your body,” and the opportunity to socialize with other families. Information about our groups can be found on our Facebook page: @famconnection

During the intake process, it may feel like you are being asked many questions. That is because we will spend the first few visits getting to know your family. We complete a family-centered assessment, a health questionnaire, and a depression screening. We use this information to help us decide what your family is really good at and what areas could use education and support. This information is kept in a confidential file. We use both paper and electronic records for each family.

Each visit is personalized for each family. The Parents as Teachers curriculum gives us many ideas in the following areas: Parent-Child Activity, Child Development, and Family Well-Being. We decide what specific information to use based on what we already know about your family.

For example, you talked to your home visitor about frustration with getting your child to start potty training. At the next visit, your home visitor can bring books and other information to assist you in your goal of potty training. Another example: an ASQ has shown that your child could use improvement in fine motor skills development. (Fine motor skills are typically how the fingers and hands work.) Your home visitor will bring an activity to help develop those muscles, such as finger paints, play-doh, or clothespins.

Each family is asked to set up a goal. Goals can be specific to each child or the whole family. Gathering information to help you set your goal is part of the family-centered assessment. Some examples of goals: naming body parts, saving money, potty training, getting a new job, or reading a book every day.

Connect With Us!
(319) 385-8126
Iowa State Extension Office Henry County, 127 N. Main St., Mt. Pleasant IA 52641