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NICAO Service Area


Cerro Gordo/Franklin Long Term Recovery Coalition is fully committed to long term flood recovery in north central Iowa. NICAO serves as the fiscal agent for the local long term (Flood) recovery coalition managing funds that have been contributed for disaster assistance and making payments on behalf of the coalition to flood victims to replace items damaged during the 2008 and 2010 floods, to assist in home repair for damaged homes, and to reimburse flood victims for out-of-pocket expenses incurred during or following the flooding. NICAO administrative staff serve on the coalition board’s Executive Committee and Case Advocacy Committee.

Community Benefits Ministry Program at Mercy Medical Center North Iowa provided initial start-up funding and continues to provide on-going financial support for the “non-FIP” component of our self-sufficiency development programs – Community Partners. Referrals are made to Community Partners through NICAO Outreach, Health, HPRP and Head Start Programs as well as other third-party sources including DHS, Iowa Legal Aid, Crisis Intervention Services, Prairie Ridge Addiction Treatment Services, the Mental Health Center of North Iowa, the Salvation Army, Red Cross, Mercy Medical Center and other health and human service providers in the community.

Community Connections is a partnership between Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa and NICAO to identify unmet needs in the community and connect patients with the resources they need 24 hours a day, 7 days per week.  Whether its food, transportation, medication, housing, utility assistance, or another human service need, Community Connections is helping community members bridge the gap.  To learn more about Community Connections, contact Program Coordinator, Alice Ciavarelli at 641-428-7158.

 Iowa Workforce Development Rapid Response Team provides a coordinated and “rapid” community response to the employees of local businesses and industrial operations when plants are facing massive lay-offs or business closings. North Iowa Community Action Organization serves along with representatives from the Iowa Workforce Development Center, North Iowa Area Community College, the Iowa Department of Human Services, and Consumer Credit Counseling. Team members meet with groups of employees to provide information about community resources that will be available to them during and after the unemployment process.

North Central Iowa Local Homeless Coordinating Board: North Iowa Community Action facilitates quarterly meetings of the Local Homeless Coordinating Board serving: Butler, Cerro Gordo, Floyd, Franklin, Hancock, Kossuth, Mitchell, Winnebago, and Worth counties.  members of the Board represent the following organizations: Community Kitchen of North Iowa, Crisis Intervention Services, Francis Lauer Youth Services, Mason City Housing Authority, Charles City Housing Authority, North Iowa Regional Housing Authority, NIACOG, the City of Mason City, Iowa Legal Aid, the Salvation Army, the United Way of North Central Iowa, Northern Lights Homeless Shelter, Trinity House of Hope, Gerrit House, the HUD VASH Program at the VA Clinic, and North Iowa Community Action. Members provide a coordinated response to emergency housing needs of families and individuals in the north central Iowa area and are members of the Balance of State Continuum of Care represented by the Iowa Finance Authority and the Iowa Homeless Coalition.  For further information contact: Cindy Davis at 641-494-1891 Extension 35 or by email at

 Prevent Child Abuse Iowa 
North Iowa Community Action was awarded a $10,000 grant for FY12 to provide Home Visitation Parent Education services through our Community Partners Program. The application is supported by the Partners 4 Children Community Partnerships for Protecting Children initiative and is awarded on an annual basis by Prevent Child Abuse Iowa. All activities funded through this grant are focused on preventing child abuse through in-home interventions to teach more appropriate parenting behaviors and to strengthen family interactions as well as on community education and awareness presentations intended to educate the community on the importance of child abuse prevention.

Three full-time Family Development Specialist Parent Educators under the clinical supervision of a Program Coordinator make contact with families within 48 hours of a referral to explain the program and to offer program services to the family. In general, 2-hour home visits are scheduled at least twice a month (sometimes more frequently depending on the family situation) for at least the first three months of participation. At the end of 90 days, the family, the Parent Educator and the Program Coordinator determine whether the home visits will continue with the same frequency or whether the home visits will decrease to once a month.

Approximately (41%) of the referrals we receive come from DHS child welfare staff and (59%) of our referrals come from other sources including Juvenile Court Services and local community school districts.

Families set parenting goals with their assigned Parent Educator and those goals are reviewed with the Parent Educator at each home visit. Parent Educators individualize parenting curriculums with each family utilizing materials from the variety of parenting curriculums they have been trained to use. Parent Educators assess parenting strengths and challenges with CAFAS in order to determine children and family’s functioning across a variety of life domains in order to match their needs with appropriate interventions and to track progress in achieving positive outcomes. The team members are responsible for coordinating their activities with other programs administered by North Iowa Community Action as well as with other health and human service providers in the community. 

United Way of North Central Iowa
is a collaborative partner with North Iowa Community Action. NICAO is a member agency of the United Way of North Central Iowa and receives funding to support the Bridges Mentoring Program in Mitchell County and to support emergency financial assistance that is provided in the form of rent and mortgage payments and security deposits for residents of our nine county service area. United Way funding is also used to provide financial assistance to address barriers to self-sufficiency for families enrolled in the FaDSS and Community Partners Self Sufficiency Development Programs.  NICAO employees support the annual United Way campaign through payroll deductions and direct contributions.

24/7 Dads

North Iowa Community Action is engaged in a partnership with the 2nd Judicial District Department of Correctional Services to coordinate the provision of parent education services utilizing the 24/7 Dad’s Curriculum to adult males who are on probation or currently in residence at the Beje Clark Transition Center. NICAO contracts with two individuals to provide the twelve two-hour sessions to Dads enrolled in the program through the Department of Adult Corrections.