Iowa Employs Pre-Removal Conferences to Engage Parents in the Child Welfare System Early
Social and Emotional Health, Child Welfare
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ZERO TO THREE Policy Center state updates
Iowa Department of Human Services & ZERO TO THREE’s Safe Babies Court Team in Polk County
Iowa is using Pre-Removal Conferences (PRCs) to engage families involved with child welfare, as well as their support systems, before a child is removed from his/her home. PRCs are convened when DHS makes the assessment that a child must be removed. They bring child welfare workers together with the family, informal supports such as family members, formal supports such as medical providers or child care providers, a Parent Partner, and a trained facilitator. During a Pre-Removal Conference, all present discuss how the removal and subsequent placement will occur and set up supports designed to meet the preliminary safety, mental, physical, and educational needs of the children. The meetings are strengths-based and child-focused; they center on whether a relative can care for the children and, if so, what supports they need. In addition, arrangements are made for family interactions, evaluations are recommended, transportation assistance is offered, and immunization/medical records are exchanged.