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LSI helps Iowa families succeed through Family Treatment Courts

Fort Dodge, Iowa— Staff members from LSI are helping thousands of children and adults through the Iowa Family Treatment Courts.

The courts (or FTCs) were created to provide an alternative treatment for parents with substance abuse issues involved in the child welfare system. The 12 Iowa FTCs each include 10 to 12 professionals from a range of human services agencies, including LSI.

Kimberly Young, a care coordinator with LSI’s Family Risk, Safety, and Permanency Services, has been a member of the Webster County FTC since 2014.

Kimberly says the FTCs meet with participants for two hours each week. It’s a time for court members to offer positive feedback and constructive criticism on the parent’s treatment, and connect them to the resources they need to thrive.

“It gives us a different way to communicate with our clients,” Kimberly says. “At LSI, we go into the home and work on their goals. But when we do FTC, we’re finding more resources in the area they can use.”

A recent study showed nearly 1,000 parents and more than 1,600 children have been served by the FTCs since the program began in 2007. More than 75 percent of families were reunited after parents completed treatment.

Matthew Manz, an LSI mental health provider and FTC member, says the courts are also beneficial to the entire state. The success of the program has saved $12 million of Iowa taxpayers’ money.

“Kids are staying in their home instead of going into foster care while mom or dad is in prison,” Matthew says. “We’re keeping these families together and it ultimately saves taxpayers money. As more and more data comes in, it’s clear this is a win-win for taxpayers and the families served.”

Melissa Holder hired as new LSI mental health provider in Spencer

Spencer, Iowa— Melissa Holder has been hired as the new mental health provider in Lutheran Services in Iowa’s (LSI) Spencer office.

Melissa, a Licensed Practitioner of the Healing Arts (LPHA), is now available to work with children and families to create solutions and strategies for a range of mental health concerns.

“I’m so excited to continue getting to know the families and kids with LSI,” Melissa says. “I have a lot of experience working with young kids and families, and that’s where my passion is. I don’t just focus on mental health but instead, my passion is on working with the whole family and improving the way they function together.”

Melissa began working with LSI two months ago. Prior to LSI, she worked as an Early Childhood Counselor for Greater Minnesota Family Services. She holds a degree in Mental Health Counseling from Walden University in Minnesota.

“We are thrilled to have Melissa in this role,” says Scott Caldwell, LSI’s Director of Mental Health Services. “Her well-rounded experience working in both public and private human services arenas will be beneficial to so many families in Northwest Iowa.”

In her new position, Melissa says she hopes to make LSI the first choice for parents looking for more family-based resources in the community.

In her free time, Melissa enjoys spending time with her two kids, going shopping, and relaxing on family trips to the lake.

Lewton named new Director of Services for People with Disabilities at LSI

Des Moines, Iowa— Cody Lewton has been named the new Director of Services for People with Disabilities at Lutheran Services in Iowa (LSI).

In his new role, Cody will oversee LSI’s daily and hourly Supported Community Living (SCL), and Respite Care programming.

“I’m so excited to begin this new position, and I feel honored that I get to be involved in so many people’s lives on a daily basis,” Cody says. “It’s the most rewarding part to me, whether it’s supporting an employee, or it’s helping an individual so they can stay in their home and live the life they want in their community.”

Cody first began working at LSI in 2012, when he started as a Regional Coordinator for LSI’s hourly SCL services. He moved on to become Statewide Manager of SCL and Respite care services. Prior to working at LSI, Cody served as a Site and Shift Supervisor at ChildServe, and as a Direct Support Professional at Mayors Youth Empowerment Program. Cody holds a degree in Psychology from the University of Iowa.

“We are so excited to have Cody in this new role at LSI,” says Bill Kallestad, Vice President of Programs and Services. “He has a demonstrated track record of valuing and developing our staff, and utilizing his passion for our mission.”

In his new position, Cody hopes to explore new service delivery options, provide more training opportunities for staff, and continue to improve the service line’s business outcomes.

“I see our Services for People with Disabilities being the service provider of choice across Iowa, and a leader in the field of disabilities and mental health care delivery,” Cody says.

In his free time, Cody enjoys being at home with his wife and three sons, going to the park, and watching Hawkeye football and Cubs baseball.

LSI’s Pediatric Integrated Health services expand

Waterloo, Iowa—LSI (Lutheran Services in Iowa) has expanded the service areas for the Pediatric Integrated Health services.

LSI’s Pediatric Integrated Health has been a provider of choice in the Cedar Valley, operating in Black Hawk and Grundy Counties. The services – which have provided support for more than 200 area families – coordinate community connections, as well as physical and behavioral health care for children on Medicaid with severe emotional or behavioral issues.

Pediatric Integrated Health has expanded to serve communities in Cerro Gordo, Floyd, Chickasaw, Franklin, Butler, Bremer, Hardin, Buchanan, Tama, and Benton Counties. With the expansion, LSI can continue to provide hope and healing to families across Iowa.

Family Solutions, an Iowa human services organization, has said LSI’s history of mental health services “demonstrates their effectiveness in meeting the mental health needs of those they serve,” and the Waterloo School District said Pediatric Integrated Health “has the ability to coordinate vital physical and mental health information with various providers.”

The service line has been there for families like Rosa’s. When Rosa’s daughter, Perla, began struggling to stay focused in school, she wanted to make sure her child had the best possible support. With the help of her Pediatric Integrated Health team, Rosa is now working with the school to ensure Perla gets the additional help she needs in her classes.

“I’m making sure Perla and her sister are doing well in school,” Rosa says. “Thanks to God, everything is going well.”

LSI and Iowa Synods of the ELCA respond to Iowa flood relief effort

LSI (Lutheran Services in Iowa) and the Iowa Synods of the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) are teaming up to help address the urgent needs of communities suffering flood damage in Iowa.

The flooding is forcing emergency evacuations, road closures, and major damages to homes, businesses, schools, and infrastructure.

The Statewide Lutheran Disaster Response Team is made up of LSI and the three Iowa Synods of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), and was formed to meet the needs of Iowa communities following a disaster in the state.

Financial donations are critical at this time. Please do not donate materials, as needs for specific items have not yet been assessed. Donations can be made online at

Donations are also being accepted by mail. Please designate “2016 Iowa Flood Relief” in the memo line of the check, and mail it to:

Lutheran Services in Iowa
Attn: 2016 Iowa Flood Relief
106 16th Street SW
Waverly, IA 50677

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