To learn more about a program, click on its link at left.
History of Services
Family Directions of Iowa as Parents Anonymous® of Iowa, Inc. has a 30-year history of successfully providing Parents Anonymous® Programs. The organization’s history reflects the grassroots movement that helped spread Parents Anonymous® programs throughout the country. In 1976, a committed community volunteer, Louise Augustine, partnered with her good friend and community advocate, Audrey Bibbins, to initiate the first Parents Anonymous® program located in central Iowa. Strong support within the community helped to sustain the program through volunteers and the efforts of those who recognized the need for communities to stand along with parents and families and help them in their efforts to reach their goals. Community involvement and participation quickly grew and the program gained strength in its concept of parent participation and leadership.
As an exemplary example of volunteer-managed and supported community-based child abuse prevention programs, Parents Anonymous® of Iowa operated for almost 15 years as an all-volunteer working board and continued to provide Parents Anonymous® Programs. In 1990, Parents Anonymous® of Iowa, Inc. formed its first initial non-profit corporation. The corporation continued to grow, but was still directed and organized through volunteer efforts. Many of those volunteers held professional positions in the community then, as they do today.
In 1996, Parents Anonymous® of Iowa became a program of Children and Families of Iowa. Based on increased referrals and the knowledge that more and more families needed Parents Anonymous® services, this decision allowed for greater organizational support for the Parents Anonymous® Program at that time.
In 2002, Parents Anonymous® of Iowa, under the direction and recommendation of their Advisory Board, reincorporated as Parents Anonymous® of Iowa, Inc. and regained its organizational non-profit status and appointed a new Board of Directors.
In 2004, Parents Anonymous® of Iowa implemented “The Parenting Way”, a succession of parenting classes offered to meet the needs of parents and community in building strong parental competencies and strengthening family relationships.
In 2006, the Board of Directors of Parents Anonymous® of Iowa voted to create a new umbrella organization, Family Directions of Iowa, Inc. that would provide Parents Anonymous® Programs and The Parenting Way parent education classes. The new agency would also be in a position to add additional program services under the umbrella of Family Directions of Iowa.
In 2006, In Home Parent Education Services were added for families with children ages 0 to 5.
In 2007, Family Directions of Iowa, Inc. will be adding a Parent Leader Training Component, which will be offered to other organizations interested in learning parent leadership concepts and techniques.
Parents Anonymous® Community Parent Groups
Parents Anonymous® Community Parent Groups are weekly meetings, open to any interested parent, based on the model developed by the national Parents Anonymous® organization more than thirty years ago. They offer a supportive, non-threatening environment where parents discuss communication, discipline, child development, parental roles, methods for successfully dealing with the everyday stresses of parenting, and other issues that impact parenting behavior. To reinforce their new attitudes, parents practice new behaviors at home and discuss the results at the group each week. Studies have shown that this model of adult learning produces the most positive change. Parents develop personal competencies, increase their ability to deal with stress, and significantly expand their knowledge of child development.
To join a group, call 515.255.9490 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also see our parenting tips here.
Groups are offered in the following Iowa communities:
Diversified Programs for:
Grandparents & Caregivers
Fathers and Mothers in Reentry
Onsite Programs for:
Mothers in Prison
Mothers in Prison & their Children
Mothers in Violators Programs
Parents Anonymous® Community Children & Youth Programs
Parents Anonymous® Children and Youth Programs serve the children of parents who are attending Parent Groups. While their parents participate in the Parents Anonymous® group, children participate in a structured program at the same time and location. Children engage in a variety of activities that stimulate their social and emotional development. Programs are supervised by qualified Children and Youth Program Workers trained in the proven effective model based on Parents Anonymous® Principles and Standards of Practice. The program creates an environment where children can achieve goals such as expressing appropriate emotions, building stronger interpersonal skills, developing coping and problem solving skills, and gaining respite from daily life stresses and developing resiliency to face these stresses. Children and youth make significant long-term positive change through their participation in the program.
Parent Leadership and Shared Leadership in Action
Family Directions of Iowa programs are based on the principles of parent leadership and shared leadership. Programs utilize strengths, insight and direction from parents in the areas of program development and content, assessment and outcomes, advocacy, and training.
Parent Leaders are parents who have addressed the challenges of parenting, gained the knowledge and skills to work in meaningful leadership roles and represent a “parent voice” to help shape the direction of their families, programs and communities.
Read a Parent Leader’s story here.
Family Directions of Iowa offers training to other agencies who want to increase parent involvement in their programs.
Click here for Online Parent Leadership Resources
Parent Leadership Month
Governor Chet Culver proclaimed February 2008 National Parent Leadership month in Iowa!
Winners this year:
Kristy Terry Jolly K Award 2008 National and State
Parent Leader for Parents Anonymous Southside Program
Tracy Gilge Juanita Chavez Award 2008 National and State
Parent Support Facilitator for Parents Anonymous Eastside Program
Parent Leaders will be recognized at dinner at Bordo’s Restaurant on February 24th, 2008!
The Parenting Way©
The Parenting Way© is a structured ten-week parenting skills course developed and trademarked by Family Directions of Iowa. The Parenting Way© curriculum addresses the importance of early childhood initiatives and seeks to change parents’ knowledge of child development, attitudes toward parenting, and their view of themselves as the most important first step toward enhancing the parent-child relationship.
Read the great story of one parent here.
Classes are ongoing and revolving. Parents may register at any time, but must complete each session. Parents earn a certificate for each completed session and Special Certificate for completing the entire course. Parents are also asked to enroll in a Parents Anonymous® group when they sign up for a class. Class pre-registration is required. To register, call 515.255.9490 or e-mail email@example.com.
Spring 2008 Schedule
Session I: The Parenting Way…To Discipline Without Harm
Mondays, 6:00-8:00pm February 4th, 11th, 18th & 25th
Thursdays, 12:30-2:30pm February 7th, 14th, 21th & 28th
Class #1 Agency Programs – Parents Anonymous, The Parenting Way, Parents as Teachers
Class #2 Discipline Without Harm
Class #3 Behavior Management Toolbox
Class #4 Assertive & Effective Discipline
Session II: The Parenting Way… To Communicate & Problem Solve
Mondays, 6:00-8:00pm March 3rd, 10th
Thursdays, 12:30-2:30pm March 6th, 13th
Class #1 Basic Communication Tips
Class #2 Basic Problem Solving Tips
Session III: The Parenting Way…To Nurture Ourselves & Our Children
Mondays, 6:00-8:00pm March 24th, 31st & April 7th
Thursdays, 12:30-2:30pm March 20th, 27th & April 3rd
Class #1 Unconditional Love & Bonding
Class #2 Identifying your strengths
Class #3 Identifying your stressors
Session IV: The Parenting Way…To Ask for Help & Seek Support
Mondays, 6:00-8:00pm April 14th
Thursdays, 12:30-2:30pm April 10th
Class #1 Children’s Support Systems & Family Resources
Classes are ongoing and revolving. Parents may register at any time, but must complete each session. Parents earn a Certificate for each completed session and Special Certificate for completing the entire course. Registration required.
Contact: Family Directions of Iowa, Inc.
(515) 255-9490 or (515) 223-5614 En Espanola
1211 Vine Street Suite 2224
West Des Moines, IA 50265
Instructors: Wendy Ryan – Morning Classes
Jodi Scott – Evening Classes
In-Home Parent Education Services
In partnership with Visiting Nurse Services in Des Moines, Family Directions of Iowa offers one-on-one parent education for Polk County families with children aged 0-5, using the nationally recognized Parents as Teachers and United Way’s Born Learning curricula. The project is funded through Polk County Empowerment and administered by Visiting Nurse Services. Parent Educators are located in multiple community organizations throughout Polk County. Parent Educators provide parent education, child development screenings, referrals, resources and family support through home visitation and other community parent-child activities. There is no income guideline to qualify for this project, and all services are free.
Another great free opportunity for parents and kids: Play ‘N Learn
See parenting tips here!
Click here to View our Scheduled PEP Monthly Parent Meetings. Contact Jacque at 515.255.9490 or firstname.lastname@example.org for location and topic of the meetings.
Parents as Teachers
United Way First Call for Help/2-1-1
You are Your Child’s First and Most Important Teacher!
Boone County Parent Education Project – Parents As Teachers
The Parent Education Project (PEP) is a FREE home visiting program for pregnant women and parents with children ages birth through five who live in Boone County. Parent educators and parents work together to help children learn through play and interaction. Parents have opportunities to learn more about their children’s growth and development.
PEP offers the following for your family:
-Educational parent/child activities
-Certified parent educators
-Monthly parent/child meetings
-Parents As Teachers & Born Learning curriculum
-Personal home visiting
Parents are supported by certified parent educators who use research-based information about early brain development to help parents: increase knowledge of early childhood development, improve parenting practices, detect developmental or health issues and increas their child’s school readiness.
For More Information Contact:
Janelle Keffer, Certified Parent Educator
Family Empowerment Center
Parent Education Project
724 8th St.
Boone, Iowa 50036
Phone : (515) 432-6034
Fax: (515) 432-6038
Madison County Parent Education Project – Parents As Teachers
The Parent Education Project (PEP) is a FREE home visiting program for pregnant women and parents with children ages birth through five who live in Madison County.
Parent educators and parents work together to help children learn through play and interaction. Parents have opportunities to learn more about their children’s growth and development.
Madison County Parents as Teachers offers the following for your family:
Educational parent/child activities
Certified parent educators
Monthly parent/child meetings
Parents As Teachers & Born Learning curriculum
Personal home visiting
Parents are supported by certified parent educators who use research-based information about early brain development to help parents:
Increase knowledge of early childhood development,
Improve parenting practices,
Detect developmental or health issues
Increase their child’s school readiness.
For more information please contact:
Sarah Anker, B.S, Certified Parent Educator
Family Support Center, Stork’s Nest and Parents as Teachers
115 East Washington, Suite 5
Winterset, Iowa 50273
Phone: (515) 462-5182
Stork’s Nest / Family Nest – Winterset, Iowa
View The Stork’s Nest Brochure Here!!
Brought to you by Family Directions of Iowa
The Stork’s Nest and Family Nest offer the opportunity to earn needed children’s items and prenatal and parenting education. It is an educationally-based incentive program with the goal of improving the overall health and well-being of families in Madison County.
Any pregnant woman or mother whose income meets certain guidelines and who lives in Madison County can enroll in this program.
Trained Stork’s Nest/Family Nest Point Managers can register women to begin earning points for healthy behaviors and trade these points for needed baby items.
Healthy behaviors/activities include:
Prenatal doctor’s visits
Educational classes and support groups
Well Child Check Ups
WIC enrollment and education
Stork’s Nest and Family Nest participants can use their points for needed baby items such as:
Infant and Toddler Clothing
Baby Hygiene Products
If you would like to make a donation or would like more information about our program, please contact:
Sue Renfrow, Executive Director
Family Directions of Iowa
1211 Vine Street
West Des Moines, Iowa 50265
Polk County Community Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention
Teen Focus Workshops
Check out the story that Des Moines Public Schools Channel 12 did on the Teen Focus Series, it’s the second story in. Just follow this link to watch!!
New workshops being April 29th, 2008!!
Previous Workshop Topics
Basic Self Defense for Teens, presented by Tanya Zaglauer of the West Des Moines Police Department
Gang Involvement, presented by Tricia Parizek of the West Des Moines Police Department
Internet Safety, presented by Tanya Zaglauer of the West Des Moines Police Department
Abusive Relationships, presented by Trisha Hartley of the Family Violence Center
Safety in the Workplace, presented by Margret Meade of OSHA
Drug & Alcohol Abuse presented by Dub Vang of Employee Family Resources
GLBT Youth, presented by Planned Parenthood of Central Iowa
Active Parenting & Teen Pregnancy Prevention, presented by Leigh Ebbesmeyer of Planned Parenthood of Central Iowa
HOPE! Drama Troupe Performance, Child Abuse Prevention Council
Training and Technical Assistance
Family Directions of Iowa offers training to other organizations interested in Parent Leadership Development.
Family Directions of Iowa also offers training and technical assistance to agencies interested in implementing Parents Anonymous® programs or The Parenting Way in their community.
Eight-hour initial training
All program materials for both parent and children’s programs, including facilitator manuals and parent handbooks
Outcome and evaluation tracking
Database input and monthly reports
Ongoing site visits and assistance
Initial community open house to introduce new programs