OTTUMWA — A local agency had a lot riding on the outcome of an independent review. They nailed it.
"The credential we just received was to show we are a quality [organization]," said Bryan Dunn, executive director of Sieda Community Action. "It's something we knew, but it's nice to have it confirmed by an unbiased third party."
Actually, he said, it's more than just nice. It was critical, as donors nationwide require proof that agencies designed to help their community are really doing that. The Iowa Family Support credential is the only way some of their donors will continue to support a program Dunn is proud of: Parents as Teachers.
Reviews can be intense, like the one done for federal projects such as Head Start. Or they can be a bit less exhaustive like this Iowa Family Support investigation passed in May. Inspectors normally want to see files: Have employees received regular performance reviews or background checks? How does the board govern? Are necessary reports made promptly, then stored correctly?
Presumably, donors now know their funds will be used appropriately.
Parents as Teachers, Dunn said, "is a curriculum" designed to teach parents some important scientific knowledge about children. They learn about the stages of development, and how important early learning is to the growth of the brain.
By knowing how children learn, parents can turbocharge their own child's intellectual growth.
Sieda employees aren't able to rest, however, as a new group of inspectors is always ready to visit the offices for one program or another.
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