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Grant seeks to address challenges teens face

September 16, Des Moines, Iowa – In Iowa 25 percent of youth ages 18 to 24 live in poverty and 8,000 teenagers are both not in school and are not working (Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2017). Only 50 percent of teen mothers obtain a high school diploma by age 22, compared to 90 percent of teens who are not teen mothers (Child Trends, 2010). Three-quarters of all life-long cases of mental illness start by age 24 (National Institute of Mental Health, 2016). With a grant recently awarded by the Principal Financial Foundation, Children & Families of Iowa (CFI) seeks to provide support to Iowa’s at-risk young adults. Many of these teens have past histories of trauma or face a variety of obstacles, such as poverty, abuse and neglect; involvement in juvenile justice systems; foster care placement; homelessness; are teen parents, currently pregnant, or at risk of becoming pregnant; or lack life goals, direction, and skills. With CFI’s services, teens are given the opportunity to overcome their unique individual barriers to success with access to programs such as mental health and substance abuse counseling; child care for teen parents in the Des Moines Public Schools; and youth work readiness programs that support teens in areas pertaining to employment, job-readiness, post-secondary education, and life skills.

CFI’s programs provide teens with the skills necessary to lead both a successful future financially and an overall self-sufficient life. CFI approaches financial literacy holistically by providing teens with positive financial behaviors and money management skills, but also by helping them overcome addiction and mental illness, have access to quality child care so that they can complete high school, prepare for post-secondary education, and attain employment. Only by overcoming these barriers can teens establish a solid foundation on which to have a successful financial future.

“Gaining financial security is vitally important for young adults as they plan their futures, and CFI’s program makes it a primary goal,” said Amy Stapp-Arpy, CDO/ VP of Development and Communications at CFI. “The tremendous support from the Principal Foundation enables CFI to help Iowa’s youth overcome their past challenges and live more productive lives.”

Principal Foundation’s $20,000 grant will help to support services that focus on assisting youth and young adults identify a career pathway based on their individual skills, interests, abilities and current labor market demands. This grant also supports access to quality child care and mental health/substance abuse services.

“Principal Foundation empowers people to live their best lives by investing in building strong communities around the world, including our headquarter city, Des Moines,” says Mandi McReynolds, Director of Community Relations and Principal Foundation. We are proud to partner with Children and Families of Iowa helping youth reach financial security through learning, earning and saving more,”

To learn more about CFI’s programs, visit http://cfiowa.hmdev/programs.

To learn more about grant and sponsorship opportunities through Principal Financial, visit




About Children & Families of Iowa

Children & Families of Iowa (CFI) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of children and families throughout Iowa. Headquartered in Des Moines with offices in Ankeny, Fort Dodge, Osceola and Ottumwa, CFI provides services, such as: domestic violence prevention and intervention, teen programs, family support, early childhood development, mental health and substance abuse. The organization’s mission is to restore hope, build futures and change lives. Visit for more information.