Skip Navigation Links
Skip Navigation Links
CDC Act Early GrantsExpand CDC Act Early Grants
Learning ModulesExpand Learning Modules
Peer-to-Peer-ExchangeExpand Peer-to-Peer-Exchange
ResourcesExpand Resources
State Spotlights
Technical Assistance CallsExpand Technical Assistance Calls
Title V Early Childhood Data Integration ToolkitExpand Title V Early Childhood Data Integration Toolkit
RecentExpand Recent

 Iowa - The Iowa Family Navigator Model: Providing Family-to-Family Support to Families of Children and Youth with ASD/DD


August 11-13, 2020 | Virtual Meeting

The 2020 SPHARC Peer-to-Peer Exchange was hosted by the University of Iowa’s Division of Child and Community Health (DCCH), which has a long history of training and employing family to family support staff, including hiring Iowa’s first “parent consultant in 1984. Today, the DCCH Family Navigator Network includes 32 Family Navigators, all of whom are the parent of caregiver of a child or youth with special health care needs. In addition to completing formal training, these professionals bring their own experience to their work with families, providing them with emotional support, systems navigation, and connections to community resources. Administered by DCCH, the Regional Autism Assistance Program (RAP) was created in 1990 to coordinate Iowa’s System of Care for children and youth with/at risk for ASD/DD and their families. RAP funding currently supports 15 Family Navigators who are the parent of a child with ASD/DD. DCCH also administers two training programs that contribute to development of Family Navigators and family leaders: the Iowa Family Peer Support Training Program and the Iowa Family Leadership Training Institute.

Over the course of the three day virtual meeting, participants learned how Iowa has developed a robust, statewide Family Navigator Network including training, certification, and continuing education. The Iowa Family Peer Support Training Program has developed a Scope of Service and training curriculum leading to eligibility for credentialing through the Iowa Board of Certification, promoting adherence to competency and ethical standards and ensuring families receive competent, professional services. While research related to this model is limited, early findings link the implementation of this model with an increased sense of collaboration and self-efficacy, increased empowerment to take action, decreased family isolation, and recognition of the importance of self-care.1 In addition, RAP provides program-specific orientation, continuing education, and access to additional training focused on ASD/DD to ensure Family Navigators are well prepared to serve this population and their unique needs. Attendees learned about Iowa family engagement activities, including the development of the Iowa Family Leadership Training Institute. While parents and primary caregivers of children with/at risk for ASD/DD have significant life experience, there remains a need for training to help families partner with professionals at the individual, community, system, and policy levels. Through self-reflection and skill-building, family training through self-reflection and skill-building, family training opportunities can increase the capacity of families to improve communication with providers, work with community partners to identify service gaps, and make health care systems more family-centered.

Despite the event being virtual, attendees were able to make meaningful connections through the event application, CrowdCompass. Participants were able to view attendee profiles, message attendees, post to a shared social wall, and read about featured speakers. Attendees had the opportunity to participate in networking including a virtual Happy Hour!

Presentations and Resources

Day 1 Presentations

FPSS Certification August 2020.pdf An overview of the certification process and requirements for Iowa Family Peer Support Specialists

FPSS Training August 2020.pdf Learn about Iowa's Family Peer Support Specialist Training Programs

Iowa FPSS Scope of Practice.pdf

RAP Presentation August 2020.pdf Presentation highlighting Iowa's Autism Regional Assistance Program

Day 2 Presentation

Family Navigator Model.pdf This presentation offers an in-depth overview of the development of Iowa's Family Navigation model

Day 3 Presentations

Iowa Family Leadership Training Institute.pdf An overview of the development of Iowa's Family Leadership Training Institute (IFLTI), training scope and requirements.

IFLTI_Brochure.pdf Informational brochure about IFLTI

IFLTI_Poster.pdf Check out Iowa's poster from AMCHP's 2020 Annual Conference!

What is Title V.pdf A broad overview of Title V and how states can work with Title V to build and sustain their programs.

UI Pentacrest.jpg