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Local Resources

Fast Facts Statistic Information
Our Purpose
Becoming a Member
Contact Us
Calendar of Events
Teen Social Group
Respite Grants
Local Resources
National Resource Links
Autism Spectrum
Down Syndrome
Movement Disorders

Family To Family Network

This is a great place to get information about programs available in Iowa.

Family to Family Iowa is dedicated to providing up-to-date resources for our communities and supporting family navigators. Our community partners are dedicated to success of our programs and offer important support and services.

Community Partners

Access for Special Kids (ASK)
Arc of Iowa
Autism Society of Iowa
Brain Injury Association of Iowa
Center for Disabilities and Development (CDD)
Child Health Specialty Clinics (CHSC)
Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder of Iowa (CHADD)
Children at Home
Community Circle of Care
Disability Resource Library (DRL)
Epilepsy Foundation North/Central Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska
Guide By Your Side
Hawkeye Area Down Syndrome Association
Hawkeye Valley Area Agency on Aging
Health Literacy Iowa (HLI)
Heritage Agency on Aging
Iowa Department of Education, The Parent & Educator Connection (PEC)
Iowa Department of Human Services
Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council
Iowa Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health
Iowa Foster and Adoptive Parents Association
Iowa Hands & Voices
Iowa KidsNet
Iowa Statewide Vision Services/Iowa Braille School
Lutheran Services In Iowa
Magellan Consumer/Family Advocate
National Association of Parents of Children with Visual Impairments - Iowa (NAPVI)
The Prader-Willi Syndrome Association of Iowa
Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa, Family Peer Support Program

Special Needs Iowa Support Groups

Special Needs Family Activities Support Group

Special Needs Family Activities support group is for families in Iowa to share information and get information about upcoming activities.

Beat Iowa Support Group

Beat Iowa is an Autism Support Group and includes discussions of treatments for Autism.

Designer Genes

A Support Group for parents of children with Down Syndrome located in Mason City and Cedar Fall, IA

Iowa Special Needs Education Resources

Iowa AEA Online Website

Make the Connection 24/7 to Iowa AEA Online, a collaborative project initiated and supported by Iowa Area Education Agency Media and Technology Centers (AEAs). The resources were evaluated, tested and selected by AEA representatives and are available for students and teachers in accredited K-12 schools, in support of curriculum content standards, student achievement, professional development and information literacy.

AEA 267 Iowa Area Educational Agencies

The 267 AEA serves over 68,000 students including 61 public school districts and 24 non-public school districts. In addition, over 5,000 educators rely on AEA 267 for services in special education, school technology, media and instructional/curriculum support.


Department of Human Services - Iowa -

Family Investment Program (FIP)
The Family Investment Program (FIP) is Iowa's Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program. FIP provides cash assistance to needy families as they become self-supporting so that children may be cared for in their own homes or in the homes of relatives.  More information is available in the following brochures:

Family Self Sufficiency Grants (FSSG)
The purpose of FSSG is to provide immediate and short-term assistance to PROMISE JOBS participant families which will remove specific barriers related to obtaining or retaining employment.  Removing these barriers to self-sufficiency might reduce the length of time a family is dependent on the Family Investment Program (FIP).

Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA)
Refugee Cash Assistance provides cash assistance for up to eight months to needy families, including single adults, who enter the United States as refugees who are not eligible for the Family Investment Program. Unless determined exempt, refugees must cooperate with work and training requirements of the RCA programs.

Who Can Get Help?
To get help from most of our programs, you must:
  • Be a U.S. citizen or legal qualified alien.
  • Live in Iowa.
  • Provide a social security number or proof of application for a number.
  • Meet income and resource limits (these vary from program to program).
  • Provide all information needed to determine eligibility and benefit level.

Exceptions:  The Family Investment Program requires that you have a minor child (under age 18 or 19 and still in high school) in the home.

How do I apply?
You can apply for FIP and other DHS programs by:

  • Applying online.  Click here to use the online application.
  • Printing an application form from the links below.  Complete the application by hand and return it to the DHS office serviing the county where you live.
  • Getting an application form from any local Department of Human Services (DHS) office. Click onCounty DHS Office Locations to find the location of the county DHS office nearest you.

Links to Program Applications

Family Investment Program (FIP), Refugee Cash Assistance, Food Assistance or Medical AssistancePublic Assistance Application [PDF] 
Family Investment Program (FIP), Refugee Cash Assistance, Food Assistance or Medical AssistanceSolicitud Para Asistencia Publica [PDF]

What if I Have Questions?
Any local DHS office can answer questions about the programs and services described here. Contact the local DHS office serving the county where you live (County DHS Office Locations).

The local DHS office serving your county is also listed in the State or County Government section of your local phone book, under "Department of Human Services" or just "Human Services".

You may also contact the DHS Division of Field Operations by calling (515) 281-6899 or 1-800- 972-2017.

Related Links

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

TANF State Plan and related information

A brief summary of a report by Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. that describes how Iowa families who left FIP in the spring of 1999 were doing two years later, with a link to the full report on Mathematica's website.

Iowa – Department of Human Services (DHS): The Family Support Subsidy program consists of direct cash assistance in the form of a monthly payment to families of children up to age 18 with developmental disabilities. 

Families complete the form at the website below and return it to the local DHS office or the DHS central office: Family Support Subsidy Program, Division of Children and Family Services, 1305 E. Walnut Street, Des Moines, IA 50319-0114. Information and application for the Department of Human Services (DHS) (PDF). - See more at:

Department of Human Services - Food Programs

We Can Help You Get Healthy Food!

Fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods help you and your family be who you want to be. Sometimes these healthy foods are expensive. Below are places you can call or visit that may help you and your family obtain these healthy foods. Many of these places have income guidelines. You may qualify for Food Assistance even if you work full-time. Call us to find out if you and your family can get help.

You can now apply for Food Assistance and other DHS programs online! Click here to use the online OASIS application.

The Food Assistance Program provides Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards that can be used to buy groceries at supermarkets, grocery stores and some Farmers Markets.

You may qualify for Food Assistance if you:

  • Meet income guidelines

  • Be a citizen or legal immigrant

  • All children who are born in the United States can apply even if their parents are not citizens.

To apply: Call your local DHS officeto get a paper application or apply onlineat

Before you apply:Please review "Before applying for Food Assistance" document. This document gives a brief overview of what we need to process your application, why certain questions are asked, citizenship/immigration information, questions that must be answered for Food Assistance and your rights and responsibilities. If you have questions about applying for Food Assistance, please contact your local DHS office.

*Note:Food Assistance applicants have the option to only answer the questions included on this document as they are required as a condition of eligibility.

Note: there have been reports of ads offering assistance for filling out Food Assistance applications. The links will take you to another website where you may be asked to provide personaland credit card information. Do NOT provide this information, it can allow others to make unauthorized purchases on your credit card or gain access to your bank accounts. If you see an ad offeringFood Assistanceapplication assistance with alink, do notclick on it. Never provide any personal information, including credit card information on an unsecure Web Site. DHS employees will never ask you for credit card information or for anything not on your State Agency application.

If you receive Food Assistance you can now access your account information on the web. Go to to register today. There is no charge for using this online access.

Click here to find yourlocal DHS office.

Iowa WIC

The WIC (Women, Infants, & Children) is a supplemental nutrition program for babies, children under the age of 5, pregnant women, breastfeeding women, and women who have had a baby in the last 6 months. WIC helps families by providing healthy foods, nutrition education, and referrals to other health care agencies.


  • Meet income guidelines

  • Have an Iowa address

  • Have a medical or nutritional need

To apply: Make an appointment at your local WIC office.Bring proof of address, identity and income.

Contact Information:Go to more information.

More low-income Iowanshave increased access to locally grown farm fresh food at selected Farmers Markets due to the efforts of the Iowa Department of Human ServicesWireless EBT Project.This Project provides wireless point-of-salemachines to qualified vendors across the state. This enables the vendors to accept the Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT)food assistance card, MasterCard, Visa, or Discover.

Click here for more information about this program.

There are Farmers Markets throughout Iowa!

Click here for the latest list of Farmers Markets

To findthe nearestDHS officewhere you can get an application form or ask questions about DHS programs click here for phone numbers ofCounty DHS Office Locations. The local DHS office serving your county is also listed in the State or County Government section of your local phone book, under "Department of Human Services" or just "Human Services". To report a change to yourFood Stampcasecall:1-877-347-5678

You can use a prescreening tool developed by the USDA to determine if you may be eligible to receive Food Assistance benefits.Click here forthe USDA's Applicants and Recipients  web page and click on the On-Line Prescreening Tool link. A similar tool isused in the online application.

Click on either the English or Spanishlinkbelow if you want to apply for Food Assistance, Family Investment Program (FIP) and/or Medicaid (Title 19). Youwill need toprint the application and either take it ormail it in to a DHS office.


Family Investment Program (FIP), Refugee Cash Assistance, Food Assistance or Medical Assistance

Public Assistance Application


Family Investment Program (FIP), Refugee Cash Assistance, Food Assistance or Medical Assistance 

Solicitud Para Asistencia Publica

Useful Links: Food Assistance Manual Food Assistance Rules


Facts about the Food Assistance Program English Spanish

Food Assistance Program through Electronic Benefit Transfer English Spanish

Food Assistance Makes Iowa Stronger English Spanish

Civil Rights Statement for the Food Assistance Program: In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, political beliefs,or disability.

To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 or (202) 720-6382 (TTY). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Click here for information about the Commodities/Food Distribution programs.

School Food

The School Breakfast Program provides healthy breakfasts in school. Children can receive free or reduced price school breakfasts.

The National School Lunch Program provides healthy lunches. Children can receive free or reduced price lunches.


  • Meet income guidelines or get food assistance.

  • Be a migrant, homeless or foster child.

To apply:Ask for an Iowa Eligibility Application at your childs school.Return the completed application to your childs school.

Contact Information: Contact your childs school

Summer Food
Service Program

The Summer Food Service Program provides free meals during the summer months to some communities and day camps.

Qualifications: Be 18 years old or younger

To apply: No application process

Contact Information: Bureau of Nutrition, Health, and Transportation Services


Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP)

The CSFP provides supplemental food and nutrition education for pregnant, postpartum and breast-feeding women, infants, children up to age six and the elderly. Available foods include canned fruits and vegetables, hot and cold cereals, cheese, peanut butter and beans, pastas, canned and powdered milk, regular and soy formula and infant cereal.


  • Meet income guidelines

  • Be six years or younger, a pregnant, postpartum or breastfeeding woman, or over the age of 60

  • Foster children six years or younger are automatically eligible for this program

  • Cannot also be enrolled in the WIC program

To apply:

  • Apply in person at your local CSFP office.

  • Bring proof of age, income, birth of baby or doctors note that provides due date of baby.

  • If applying for your foster child, bring legal documentation of foster care status, childs birth certificate or Title XIX document, and proof that you are the foster parent.

Contact Information: 1-877-288-3655 or

Emergency Food Assistance

Emergency Food Assistance provides free meals and

food at places like food pantries and soup kitchens.

To apply:Dial 211 or your local food bank to find out more information about places for help near you.

Contact Information: Dial 211 or go to for food pantry information


SHARE, also known as the Self-Help and Resource Exchange, is a program for anyone. SHARE Iowaoffers tasty, nutritious grocery packages at half the retail cost in exchange for two hours of volunteer service in your community.

Contact Information: 1-800-344-1107


EFNEP and FNP are free nutrition education programs for low-income families offered by Iowa State University Extension. They help parents provide nutritious food for their families, leading to healthy children and strong families. Nutrition coaches meet with participants one-on-one and in small groups. The lessons include hands on activities, worksheets, games, recipes and cooking.

Qualifications: Meet income guidelines

To apply:800-262-3804 or

Mental Health - Iowa Department Human Services

There are lots of changes coming up so you might want to check this website to get more information of the changes and programs available for mental health.

Division of Mental Health and Disability Services (MHDS)

Evidence Based Practices Tools

MHDS Redesign Website

Olmstead Plan for Mental Health and Disability Services Website

Balancing Incentive Payment Program (BIPP) Website

What does MHDS do?

MHDS is responsible for planning, coordinating, monitoring, improving and partially funding mental health and disability services for the State of Iowa. The division engages in a wide variety of activities that promote a well-coordinated statewide system of high quality disability-related services and supports including:

  • Setting disability policy
    The division provides leadership and sets the direction of state policy for the system of mental health and disability services for Iowa. MHDS plans for and oversees the provision of disability-related services for children and adults with a wide range of disability conditions, including mental illness, serious emotional disturbance, intellectual disabilities, developmental disabilities, and brain injury. MHDS is the designated State Mental Health Authority. It is responsible for statewide planning and oversight of mental health services and distribution of federal funds received through the Community Mental Health Block Grant.

  • Service coordination
    The division works with counties, advisory and planning councils, other DHS programs, and other state agencies to coordinate services. We provide staff support to the Mental Health and Disability Services Commission; the Mental Health Planning and Advisory Council; and the Olmstead Consumer Task Force, and welcome input from individuals and families.

  • Quality review
    The division works with service providers to assure quality by setting standards for certain facilities and services that are provided to adults and children with mental illness, intellectual disabilities, developmental disabilities and brain injury and evaluating how well those standards are met through an accreditation process.

  • Managing grants and contracts
    The division distributes and oversees the use of federal and state funding through contracts with providers or other agencies that offer services or coordinate projects that promote the division's goals.

System Values

Respectful of the individual and culturally competent:

  • Individual strengths and skills are emphasized.

  • Recovery and self-determination are promoted.

  • Individual human rights are protected.

  • Services and supports are provided in a culturally competent manner.

The Department of Human Services and the Division of Mental Health and Disability Services are committed to the values of choice, empowerment, and community for all Iowans.

  • The state mental health and disabilities service system supports individuals in exercising their own choices about the services they receive and empowering them to accept responsibility, exercise choices, and take risks.

  • Disability services must be individualized, person-centered, and flexible to produce measurable results, and be cost-effective.

  • Disability services must be provided in a way that supports the ability of individuals with disabilities to live, learn, work, and recreate in communities of their choice.

Guiding Principles

Consumer and Family Driven

  • Individuals and their families take the lead in identifying service and support needs and are fully involved in planning, implementing, and evaluating the effectiveness of services and supports.

  • Unique individual and family strengths, needs, choices and preferences are the basis for services and support planning and delivery.

  • Services are welcoming, accessible, comprehensive, and responsive to the needs of the individual.

Community Based, High Quality, and Results Oriented

  • Services are community based, high quality, accessible, and effective services.

  • Quality services encourage and support the development of each individual's abilities and minimize intrusion in or disruption of the individual's life. Housing is affordable, decent, safe, stable, and maximizes community integration and opportunities for community involvement.

  • Evidence-based practices, training, and research are supported and utilized.

  • Focus is placed on outcomes and the prevention of the need for more costly or restrictive services and supports.

MHDS staff contact information

Other Local Programs

Assistance with expenses, bills, and other aid

Thousands of people are struggling in today’s weak economy, and the North Iowa Community Action Organization offers them resources and ways to get assistance with their bills and they will also work with people to provide them the skills to become self-sufficient over the long term. Some of the programs offered are below. Contact them to learn more or to apply. Their main office is located at 218 5th St Sw, Mason City, IA 50401-3840, telephone number (641) 423-8993.

The Iowa Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP): This is a federal government funded program that provides grants and financial assistance that are to be used to pay for a portion of home heating bills for the winter months, assistance with furnace replacement or repairs, and emergency fuel deliveries. If you apply and are accepted, you may also may be eligible for Weatherization assistance services that can to reduce the cost of energy consumption in your homes. The Iowa weatherization program will install updates to your home, for free..

Emergency Grants and Financial Assistance: This aid may be available to qualified families and individuals for rent, security deposits, and even utility deposit. The North Iowa Community Action Organization works closely with the United Way in Cerro Gordo, and this charity provides funds as well as assistance with past due utility bills. Additional funds are contributed by local utility and gas companies.

Heath clinic and free health care The Family Resource Center is located at 300 15th Street NE, Mason City, 50401, and phone number is 423-5044. They offer the health care services below.

  • Maternal Health: medical examination arrangements, dental evaluation, regular visits with a physician, nutrition assessment, prenatal class arrangements, home visits by public health nurses, guidance for delivery arrangements, and education on prenatal care.
  • Family Planning : pregnancy testing and counseling, birth control counseling and exams, sexually transmitted disease treatment, genetic counseling referrals, and pap smears.
  • Child Health: vision and hearing assessments, well-child physical exams, dental evaluations, nutrition assessments, social and developmental assessments, lead screening, case management services, and immunizations.
Iowa Emergency Homeowners Loan Program

The federal government is provided millions of dollars to Iowa as part of the Iowa Emergency Homeowners Loan Program (EHLP). The assistance will be targeted at those homeowners who have experienced a substantial reduction in their total household income. The reduction can be caused by numerous reasons, and can be the result of such factors as a job loss, an involuntary loss of employment, a medical emergency or disability, underemployment such as a reduction in working hours, or unemployment.

The Iowa Emergency Homeowners Loan Program will provides mortgage assistance in the form of a loan. The program will help a homeowner for a period of time of up to 24 months, and the assistance is provided to those homeowners who are at risk of foreclosure and losing their home.

Type of emergency loan provided - The home owner loan program will offer qualified applicants with a declining balance, deferred payment bridge loan. What this is is a non-recourse, zero percent interest rate loan that is also referred to as a subordinate loan. The maximum amount loaned to Iowa homeowners is $50,000, and the money is intended to assist eligible homeowners. Once again, qualifications include a reduction in income from unemployment, job loss, or medical condition.

The program will help with the payment of arrearages on a homeowners mortgage. However note that the loan can even be applied to such expenses as delinquent property taxes and home insurance premiums. The loan can help with up to 24 months of monthly payments on their mortgage principal, property taxes, interest, mortgage insurance premiums, hazard insurance, and any other fees.

Iowa Emergency Homeowners Loan Program contact information- The Iowa Finance Authority will be involved in the process, but they will not be the agency/ primary point of contact. To learn more about this mortgage assistance program, or to find out if you are qualified for a loan from the Iowa Emergency Homeowners Loan Program, dial 877-633-4866 to speak to the Iowa Mortgage Help Program. Another option for Iowa Homeowners are free or low cost HUD foreclosure counseling agencies. Click here for more information on HUD agencies and programs.

Family Resource Center -

*Emergency Financial Assistance: may be available to qualified individuals for rent, rent deposits, and utility deposits from United Way funds as well as assistance with past due utility bills from funds contributed by local utility companies.

Hours of operation: Monday - Friday 8-4:30 p.m.

Services: Economic Self Sufficiency Programs,Family Support Centers/Outreach,Rent Payment Assistance,Rental Deposit Assistance,Utility Service Payment Assistance,Weatherization Programs,Welfare to Work Progra

Contact: Barb Kellogg - bkellogg@nicao-onlin

Iowa Legal Aid - Mason City

600 First Street NW, Suite 103 LEGAL SERVICES 
Mason City, IA - 50401
(800) 392-0021;

Hours of operation: Monday - Friday 8:30 am-5 pm; applications for assistance taken Monday - Friday 9 am-11 am and 1:30 pm-3:30 pm; emer

Contact: Diane DiPietro Wilson (Managing Attorney)
FREE LEGAL ASSISTANCE with civil legal problems involving basic necessities for low-income individuals in all 99 Iowa counties; assistance ranges from providing counsel and advice to representation before various agencies and courts

Adoption Legal Services,Advance Medical Directives,Certificates/Forms Assistance,Child Custody/Visitation Assistance,Child Support Assistance/Enforcement,Consumer Law,Discrimination Assistance,Dome

Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD Housing) 

404 S. Monroe Avenue

Mason City, IA - 50401

Financial Management

Budget Counseling
Mortgage Delinquency and Default Resolution Counseling
Non-Delinquency Post Purchase Workshops for Homeowners
Pre purchase Counseling
Pre purchase Homebuyer Education Workshops
Rental Assistance Housing Counseling
Services for Homeless Counseling 
We can also assist by speaking the following languages - 

Mason City Housing Authority

The mission of the Mason City Housing Authority is the same as that of the Department of Housing and Urban Development: To promote adequate and affordable housing, economic opportunity and a suitable living environment free from discrimination.

The Mason City Housing Authority (MCHA) was established in 1976 to meet the housing needs of low-income families, elderly and disabled residents of the City of Mason City, Iowa.

MCHA currently assists up to 448 households in the Section 8 Voucher Rental Assistance Program, up to 20 households in the Section 8 Voucher Homeownership Program and 35 Veteran Affairs Supportive Housing Vouchers. MCHA also offers Shelter Plus Care rental assistance for up to 22 disabled, homeless households.  MCHA does not administer any public housing projects.

The MCHA administers these programs with funds awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The jurisdiction of MCHA is inside the corporate city limits of Mason City. MCHA also assists 60 households of Tenant Based Rental Assistance with funds from the Iowa Finance Authority. 


To apply for assistance, for any of the above programs, unless the applicant is a person with disabilities, the applicant must pick up and return the application in person to our office located in Mohawk Square, 22 N. Georgia, Suite 214, Mason City.  Phone number is 641-421-2711.

Arc of North Central Iowa

The Arc (formerly Association for Retarded Citizens) is a non profit organization. We are funded by charitable contributions and United Way dollars.

The Arc of North Central Iowa is an organization committed to the welfare of all children and adults who have mental retardation and their families. The Arc has a rich history in advocacy and services. Membership is comprised of individuals who have mental retardation, family members, professionals in the field of disability and other concerned citizens.

The Arc of North Central Iowa began some 45 years ago in Mason City. In 1996 we incorporated into the Arc of North Central Iowa and now cover the same counties served by the United Way of North Central Iowa and the Nothern Trails Area Education Association (NTAEA).

Our Arc believes that the governing bodies and citizens of North Iowa have done a good job of providing residential options for persons with disabilities. We have a wide array of vocational of opportunities available for the young persons who graduate from high school today. The Arc works to provide recreation and leisure activities to round out the lives of persons with mental retardation. Wherever possible, Inclusive Activities are encouraged and sponsored.

Advocacy is a key word for members of the Arc of North Central Iowa. Through collaboration with the agencies and organizations serving persons with disabilities, we are able to help. We are a membership organization dedicated to the advocating and empowering people with mental retardation and their families to participate fully in community life.

The Arc is a United Way of North Central Iowa Organization.

The Arc of East Central Iowa: Other Services

Community Education
The Arc helps the community gain understanding of mental retardation, the persons
it affects and precautions that prevent some types of this disability. Information
is provided through printed materials and planned activities, especially in March.
Safe Grants and Scholarship

Structural Accessibility Funding Enterprise (SAFE) Grants are matching funds
given by the Arc to families who need financial assistance in adapting their homes to
meet the needs of a member who has disabilities. Examples of projects that may be
funded include ramps for accessibility, bathroom and kitchen remodeling, or special
equipment for the individual to assist their independence.

Scholarship: The Arc of North Central Iowa offers a scholarship for students who
are interested in working with individuals who have disabilities. The scholarship is
only offered to residents in our service area. (Area II)
Volunteer Efforts
A variety of opportunities are available for you to become involved in our local
chapter or on a broader basis. A few examples are assisting with recreational
activities, serving on chapter committees, or advocating for effective programs.
Keep up to date on activities and issues involving persons with disabilities
through local, state, and national newsletters: North Central Iowa chapter
"Communicator," the Arc of Iowa "Monitor" and the national "The Arc
Today" provide information about services in the community and
legislation affecting supports, activities, and informational meetings.
Involvement in the Arc will put you in contact with parents with similar
challenges, educators who care, and professionals who want to help.
Services are provided through advocating for inclusion in community activities,
promoting development of programs for unmet needs, and sponsoring activities.
Benefits through the Arc also include group insurance and pharmacy programs.
The National Association promotes research to enhance independence for all
persons affected by mental retardation. Knowledge of causes and prevention
methods are also priority.
Many of the opportunities available today are the result of the Arc's past
advocacy to legislators, educators, service providers, and employers.
Members continue to encourage inclusion in the areas of education,
employment, community living, and social activities.

Contact for People First:
Jeremy Beavers
69 West View Dr.
Mason City, IA 50401
Phone: (641)423-0384

The Arc of North Central Iowa
PO Box 168
Mason City, IA 50402-0157

The Arc of East Central Iowa

More than 50 years ago The Arc of East Central Iowa founders began canvassing neighborhoods to address the needs and concerns of people with disabilities. Now, more than half a decade later, we offer a variety of programs and services that help enhance the lives of people with developmental disabilities and mental retardation.

If you are interested in applying for services from The Arc of East Central Iowa, you may fill out and submit the Referral Form. Read below for more infomation about our services.

Some of the programs include Respite Funding in a variety of situations. Including, one-on-one respite, group respite, getaway respite, and much more...

Iowa Compass

Iowa COMPASS is Iowa's free, statewide information and referral service for people with disabilities, their families, service providers, and other members of the community. We maintain information on over 5,500 local, state, and national agencies and programs.

Department Human Services - Iowa Medical Programs

HEALTH CARE - Bureau of Financial, Health and Work Supports

Note: Anyone who gets or applies for Medicaid
needs to show proof of U.S. citizenship and identity.
In most cases, if you were born in the United States you are a U.S. citizen.

Information on proving U.S. citizenship and identity is available here.  
If you wish to view this information in a PDF, click here.

What's Available?

Medicaid (Title 19) is described (below) on this page.

Click on these links to learn about each of these health care services:

hawk-i: Healthy and Well Kids in Iowa

Health Insurance Premium Payment (HIPP) Program

AIDS/HIV Health Insurance Premium Payment Program


Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS)

Medicaid for Employed People with Disabilities (MEPD)

Medicaid for Kids with Special Needs

Medicaid (Title 19)

Medicaid is a program that pays for covered medical and health care costs of people who qualify. The Medicaid program is funded by federal and state governments and is managed by the Iowa Department of Human Services.

What's available?

A wide range of medical and health care services is available through the Medicaid program. These services are covered only if they are medically necessary. Medicaid recipients have free choice of a doctor, dentist, pharmacy, and other providers of services. However, in many counties, some people covered by Medicaid are required to get certain medical services through a managed health care provider (either a health maintenance organization (HMO) or a MediPass doctor). These people have the opportunity to select a provider, however, if they do not select one they will be assigned to a provider. A provider that chooses to participate in the Medicaid program must accept the payments that Medicaid makes and make no additional charges to the recipient for services covered under the program. However, some services covered by Medicaid do require a small co-payment be paid.

Eligibility groups are a category of people who meet certain common eligibility requirements. A broad range of these groups are listed under "Who can get Medicaid" below. Some Medicaid eligibility groups cover additional services, such as nursing facility care and care received in your home. Some Medicaid eligibility groups have higher income and resource limits, charge a premium, only pay the Medicare premium or cover only expenses also paid by Medicare, or require you to pay a specific dollar amount of your medical expenses. The worker who processes your application will determine which eligibility group you are eligible for.

Who can get Medicaid?

Medicaid is available to certain, low income people. You must be one of the following to get Medicaid. These are called eligibility groups.

  • A child under age 21;
  • A parent living with a child under age 18;
  • A woman who is pregnant;
  • A woman who needs treatment for breast or cervical cancer and who has been diagnosed through the Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program;
  • A person who is aged (over 65);
  • A person who is blind or disabled;
  • Certain Medicare beneficiaries; or
  • A person who meets Social Security disability requirements and is employed.

To get help from most Medicaid programs, you must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or a legal qualified alien.  As of July 1, 2006, anyone who gets or applies for Medicaid needs to show proof of citizenship and identity.  In most cases, if you were born in the United States you are a U.S. citizen. If you have questions or need help with proof of citizenship and identity you can call us toll-free at 1-877-937-3663 or you can contact your worker.  For examples of how to prove U.S. citizenship and identity and for more resources on this topic please click here.
  • Live in Iowa.
  • Provide a social security number or proof of application for a number.
  • Meet income and resource limits (these vary from program to program).
  • Provide all information needed to determine eligibility and benefit level.


  • Up to 3 days of Medicaid is available to pay for the cost of emergency services for aliens who do not meet citizenship, alien status, or social security number requirements. The emergency services must be provided in a facility such as a hospital, clinic, or office that can provide the required care after the emergency medical condition has occurred. .

How do I apply?

You can apply online for Medicaid - along with Food Assistance and the Family Investment Program (FIP).  Use your Internet browser to go to

You can also apply by filling out a paper application form. Staff in the county Department of Human Services office determine eligibility for most people. There are a few exceptions:

  • The district office of the Social Security Administration determines eligibility for people who may be eligible for SSI.
  • Presumptive Medicaid eligibility determinations for pregnant women and women who need treatment for breast and cervical cancer are made by certain providers who are authorized by the Department.

If you have access to a printer, you can print an application from this website (see links below). Complete the application by hand then return it to the DHS office serving the county where you live.

You can also get an application form from any county Department of Human Services (DHS) office. Click on County DHS Office Locations  to find the location of the county DHS office nearest you.

Links to Program Applications

If you want to apply for just Medicaid (Title 19), click on the link below:


Medical Assistance (Title 19 or Medicaid)

Need legal size paper to print

Health Services Application


Medical Assistance (Title 19 o Medicaid)

Necesite papel legal de tama

Solicitud De Servicios

If you want to apply for Medicaid (Title 19), Food Assistance and/or Family Investment Program (FIP) click on the link below:


Family Investment Program (FIP), Refugee Cash Assistance, FoodAssistance or Medical Assistance

Health and Financial Support Application


Family Investment Program (FIP), Refugee Cash Assistance, FoodAssistance or Medical Assistance

Solicitud de Apoyo de Salud y Financiero

When can Medicaid start?

Medicaid eligibility may start up to three months before the month you apply in (called the retroactive period) if:

  • You have paid or unpaid medical expenses for covered medical services which were incurred during the 3 months before you applied, and
  • You would have been eligible for Medicaid in those months if you had applied for Medicaid (whether or not the person is alive when the application is actually filed).

You don't have to be eligible now for Medicaid to be eligible in any month of the retroactive period.

What if I Have Questions?

Any county DHS office can answer questions about the programs and services described here. Contact the county DHS office serving the county where you live (County DHS Office Locations).

The county DHS office serving your county is also listed in the State or County Government section of your local phone book, under "Department of Human Services" or just "Human Services".

For Nursing Facility Care: 1-877-344-9628 Phone or 515-564-4040 fax. General information and Frequently asked questions click here

To report changes to an existing Family Medicaid. case, call 1-877-347-5678 or fax 515-725-9019.

You may also contact the Department's Field Office Support Unit by calling (515) 281-6899 or 1-800- 972-2017.

Links to Medicare Programs

To find out about Medicare, click on the link below:

The Official U.S. Government Site for People with Medicare

To find out about the Medicare-approved Drug Discount Card program, the Medicare Prescription Drug program, and other assistance programs through Medicare, click on the link below:

Prescription Drug and Other Assistance Programs (Including Medicare-Approved Drug Discount Cards)

Iowa Medicaid Waiver Programs

Some of the Waiver Programs include Ill & Handicap, MR, Brain Injury, Elderly, Aids, ect... These waivers provide insurance coverage regardless of parents wages, respite care, Social Skill Training, Home Health Care, Home and Vehicle Modifications and many more services.
There is a new program called: Consumer Choices that families can also use in addition to services they might already be using. Some benefits of this program are choosing to hire who you want (friend, professional, relative) to provide services that might not be available through the traditional program.
Some of the supports include cleaning services, homemaking tasks, supervision, respite, self-directed & employment skills, assistive divices, and many other services.
For more information contact your Case or Service Manager

Medicaid for Employed People with Disabilities (MEPD Program)

Medicaid for Employed People with Disabilities (MEPD) is a Medicaid coverage group implemented to allow persons with disabilities to work and continue to have access to medical assistance.  For more information regarding the MEPD program, please visit the Iowa Medicaid Enterprise web site at the following link:


This Website offers extensive contact information for people with Special Needs in many different areas. This is a great resource.

Easter Seals Disability Resources

Children and adults with disabilities and special needs find highest-quality services designed to meet their individual needs when they come to Easter Seals Iowa. Easter Seals staff with varied professional expertise help each person overcome obstacles to independence and reach his or her personal goals. Explore our programs listed below.

- AIM (Achieving Independent Methods)

- Camping and Recreation

- Case Management

- Child Development Center

- Equipment Services

- Job Training and Employment Services

- Life Club

- Respite

- Rural Solutions

- Supported Community Living.

- 24-Hour Supported Community Living

Contact us to begin Easter Seals services or for more information.

If you prefer to telephone us for more information, you may do so by
dialing (515) 309-1783.

Youth Task Force - Mason City

One-on-One Mentoring
Ever thought of becoming a mentor? What may seem like a few hours to you may mean the world to a child. Contact the Youth Task Force for more information.

YIELD: Youth Investing Energy in Leadership Development
It is important for youth in our community to gain leadership skills that will help them to succeed in the future. YIELD does just that by bringing high school kids together once a week during the school year and giving them opportunities to meet with a variety of people in leadership positions and to help them accomplish tasks such as creating a resume which will be helpful to them in the future. To get involved in YIELD, you need to be nominated.  Contact Carol Brown, at the Youth Task Force, for more information. 


YIELD Express
YIELD Express is a shortened version of the YIELD program that is held during the summer. This session is for the kids at Francis Lauer. It also gives the kids opportunities to gain leadership skills that will help them in their future endeavors.  Contact Carol Brown, at the Youth Task Force, for more information. 

YAT: Youth Action Team
Youth Action Teams are groups of high school youth, from MCHS and Newman HS, that get together to get involved in the community by helping with various projects. Each group meets once a month during the school year to discuss upcoming events and to brainstorm new project ideas.  Contact Carol Brown, at the Youth Task Force, for more information. 

Childcare Assistance - Iowa Department Human Services

Need Help Paying for Child Care?

Child Care Assistance Brochure (Comm 62)

Child Care Assistance Brochure (in Spanish) (Comm 62/S)

What's Available?
Child Care Assistance (CCA) is available to the children of income-eligible parents who are absent for a portion of the day due to employment or participation in academic or vocational training or PROMISE JOBS activities.  Assistance may also be available for a limited period of time to the children of a parent looking for employment or when the parent who normally cares for the child is unable to do so due to hospitalization, or outpatient treatment for physical or mental illness.

Child care services are provided to people participating in activities approved under the PROMISE JOBS program and people who receive Family Investment Program (FIP) assistance without regard to Child Care Assistance eligibility requirements if there is a need for child care services.  PROMISE JOBS staff administer Child Care Assistance for child care needed to participate in PROMISE JOBS activities.

Child care services for a child with protective needs are provided without regard to income.  To receive protective child care services, the family must meet specific requirements, and child care must be identified in the child's case permanency plan as a necessary service.

Who Can Get Help?

You may get help from the Child Care Assistance program if you:

  • Have a child who needs care who is under the age of 13 (or under the age of 19 if the child has special needs).
  • Are a member of a Family Investment Program (FIP) participant household.

If you're not a Family Investment Program participant, you may qualify for the CCA program if you:

  • Have a child who needs care who is under the age of 13 (or under the age of 19 if the child has special needs) and have income under the program's limits and work an average of 28 hours per week; or
  • Attend an approvable training or education program full-time; or
  • Are looking for work; or
  • Are unable to provide care because of an approved medical reason.
How do I apply?

To get most of our services, you must fill out an application form. 

If you have access to a printer, you can print an application from this website (see links below).  Complete the application by hand then return it to the DHS office serving the county where you live.

You can also get an application form from any county Department of Human Services (DHS) office. Click on County DHS Office Locations to find the location of the county DHS office nearest you. 

Links to Program Applications

EnglishChild Care AssistanceChild Care Assistance Application
EspanolChild Care AssistanceSolicitud Para Child Care Assistance

Who Can Care for My Child?

You may chose a child care provider from a variety of arrangements.  You can choose:
  • A licensed child care center,
  • A registered child development home,
  • A nonregistered child care home,
  • Someone who cares for your children in your own home,
  • A before-and-after-school program, or
  • A child care program operated by or under contract to an accredited public or nonpublic school.

What Must My Child Care Provider Do?

Your provider must be approved by DHS in order to receive payment from the CCA program.  Many providers are already approved by DHS to provide care for the CCA program.  If you do not know whether your provider is approved, ask your DHS CCA worker for assistance.  If your provider is not yet approved, DHS will provide you with the necessary forms to take to your child care provider.

What if I Have Questions?

Contact the Centralized Child Care Assistance Eligibility Unit (CCA) at 866-448-4605 for questions about child care. The CCA determines initial and ongoing eligibility for Child Care Assistance. Their work includes processing new applications, reviews, and changes reported by families receiving Child Care assistance. The Unit also processes child care payments for providers and handles all provider applications, renewals, and changes reported by providers.

Child Serve Org.

ChildServe Community Options

3905 Dawes Drive
Ames, IA 50010
Phone: 515-232-7220

Web Site:

Provides and promotes comprehensive, family-centered services and supports that enable children with severe disabilities and chronic health conditions to live at home with their families. Children age birth to 17 years with mental retardation, developmental disabilities, and chronic health conditions are eligible to enroll. Requests for in-home respite are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Pre/Post-Adoption/Foster Care Iowa Resources

This Website has extensive resources for families. Some offer medical assistance, respite assistance, health insurance, and many more...For more detailed information you can also check our yahoo group ~ specialneedsfamilyactivities (yahoogroup).


Autism PDD Iowa Links

The Autism-PDD Network has put together an extensive resource list of Iowa Resources for Special Needs on this website. These include Special Education, Special Needs Iowa Resource Contact Information, Mental Health Services, and many more.

Comprehensive Systems

Offers a variety of services for Special Needs

Contact: (641) 494-1714

Mason City Recreation Department

Special Needs Summer Camp!
(six different sessions)

Contact: (641)421-3673

Opportunity Village

Offers individual respite and variety of other programs.
Contact: (641) 423-1060 or (641) 357-5277

Mercy Rehabilitation Services

Offers a variety of services including Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Sensory Integration Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Pain Therapy.

Contact: (641) 422-7498

Iowa Special Needs Childcare/Respite Funding

Iowa Childcare Scholarships

Childcare Scholarships are to assist area families
with childcare costs so they continue to work, go to
school or be looking for a job position. These
scholarships pay up to 65% of the monthly cost of

If your family would like to apply you may download
our application, or call the Cerro Gordo, Hancock and
Worth Empowerment office at 641-494-6099 to have one
mailed to you.
Scholarships are only available for children under 6
years of age

Iowa Preschool Scholarships

Preschool Scholarships are to assist area families
with preschool costs. These scholarships pay up to
$60 per month for monthly preschool tuition. If your
family would like to apply you may download our
application, or call the Cerro Gordo, Hancock and
Worth County Empowerment office at 641-494-6099 to
have one mailed to you.

Iowa Respite Crisis Care Coalition

IRCCC is able to offer more than 249 individuals with over 3,500 hours of respite care in 58 counties across Iowa. This is a wonderful program for families not eligible for Waivers or on waiting lists.

Let us know if there are any web sites that you enjoy and we'll consider including them on this page!

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