History of Southwest Iowa Families, Inc.

History of Southwest Iowa Families, Inc.

Southwest Iowa Families, Inc. has been serving the needs of children and their families for over 27 years. Founded to be an out-patient counseling agency, the organization has expanded its programs to include prevention programs for the region’s most vulnerable “at-risk” children; Foster -Aftercare Transition Services; Behavioral Health Intervention Services; and support programs which meet emergency needs of individuals and families in the community. The agency is a 501c3 with a seven member board of directors.

The agency serves all ages. It has become a premier provider of children’s mental health services. There has been a commitment to developing programs and training staff in evidence-based services that meet the needs of young children. Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) and Dinosaur School are early intervention programs offered by the agency. Five staff members have been trained in Trauma Focused Behavior Therapy. More than half of the clients served are under the age of 18. Staff are trained in best practice models for treatment of children, and have focused particularly on the needs of children who have experienced abuse and neglect.

Many of our adult clients also have a trauma history associated with adverse childhood experiences (ACES) like abuse and neglect. All staff are trained to address ACES and all clients are screened for ACES because of the known association with long-term health outcomes. Five staff are trained in eye movement desensitization reprocessing (EMDR). Over 20% of clients currently being served by the agency have a history of severe and persistent mental illness.

Southwest Iowa Families strives to deliver services that are accredited and recognized by standards of excellence established by accrediting bodies. The Positive Family program is accredited by Healthy Families of America – a Prevent Child Abuse America program. Iowa Department of Human Services has accredited the Outpatient Psychotherapy / Counseling Services. The NEST program has earned Iowa Department of Public Health’s Family Support Credential.

Our vision is that all children will live in a safe and nurturing environment. We are dedicated to provide services that prevent child abuse and neglect, and treating children and adults who have an abuse history. We make a commitment to high-quality programs and staff. We strive to maintain a high level of responsiveness to the needs of our clientele and the community. We believe that it is most effective to prevent problems rather than focus exclusively on treating existing problems.