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Iowa Collaboration for Youth Development


“All Iowa youth will be safe, healthy, successful, and prepared for adulthood.”


The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics

The following report provides recommendations that 

focus on four areas related to adolescents—education, health, child welfare, and juvenile justice—and emphasizes the importance of youth engagement to solve problems, develop partnerships, and re-imagine/redesign systems to further support for adolescents. 

“Adolescence” can be defined as the period between child- and adulthood, beginning with the onset of puberty to the mid-20’s, and is divided into four age groups:

  • Early Adolescence (10-12)
  • Middle Adolescence (13-15)
  • Late Adolescence (16-18)
  • Young Adulthood (19-25)

The 411-page report provides multiple recommendations for capitalizing on opportunities to address inequities that undermine the well-being of many adolescents.  This and other research will be used to guide stakeholders in the future development of policies and legislation related to this age group.


Iowans benefit when all youth are engaged and contributing in their communities. The experiences and connections that children and youth have while growing up affect their success in school, in work, and in life.

Since 1999, the Iowa Collaboration for Youth Development Council (ICYD) has participated in a variety of state and national youth initiatives and has been nationally recognized for coordination of youth development efforts at the state level.  In partnership with the Forum for Youth Investment, the ICYD has adopted several key principles of the Ready by 21™ Challenge.  Nearly $20 million in federal and private funding has been leveraged to support youth development in Iowa.  In 2009, ICYD was established in the Iowa Code, Section 216A.140.

The ICYD is comprised of agencies within eleven state departments that represent the major public systems addressing the needs of Iowa’s youth (ages 6 to 21).   Its purpose is:

  • to build consensus on a youth development framework by aligning state policies and programs;
  • encourage collaboration on youth-related issues across state government and communities throughout Iowa;
  • identify or develop resources for use at the community level to promote positive youth development;
  • facilitate planning and implementation of effective positive youth development programs; and
  • increase youth involvement in state and local level policy discussions and decision making.

The ICYD has also prioritized the following youth issue:  "By 2020, Iowa will increase the graduation rate from 89% to 95%."  

The ICYD recognizes that Iowa youth can help create a better Iowa with support and encouragement from families, schools and communities.  The ICYD is working to make certain that Iowa’s youth have opportunities to be involved, practice healthy behaviors, achieve success in school, and are prepared for a career and productive adulthood.

One way that the ICYD involves Iowa's youth in policy discussions is through the State of Iowa Youth Advisory Council (SIYAC), a non-partisan policy advising organization comprised of 21 voting members and 3 non-voting members aged.  Youth who serve on SIYAC are young Iowans between the ages of 14-20 who reside across the state.  SIYAC was originally seated in 2001 by former Governor Tom Vilsack as a way for youth to inform legislators and policymakers on issues important to youth.  In 2009, SIYAC was established through Iowa Code Section 216A.140(8) within the Iowa Department of Human Rights under the umbrella of the Iowa Collaboration for Youth Development.  

Through these collaborative efforts, ICYD is creating a better Iowa for today and in the future.

To learn more about the Iowa Collaboration for Youth Development, please view the 2020 ICYD Council Annual Report.  An Executive Summary and Recommended Actions can be found on pages 1-2 of the report.

ICYD Council Members

San Wong, Director

Iowa Department of Human Rights

  Steve Michael, ICYD Chair

  Division Administrator

  Criminal & Juvenile Justice Planning

Debbie Nistler

4-H Youth Development

ISU Extension & Outreach

Steffani Simbric, Administrator

Child Advocacy Board

Adam Lounsbury, Executive Director

Commission on Volunteer Service

*Mary Sheka

James Piazza, Chair

State of Iowa Youth Advisory Council

Gary Niles, Chief Juvenile Court Officer 

Judicial Branch - 3rd Judicial District    

Department of Human Services

Janee Harvey, Administrator

*Doug Wolfe

  Division of Adult, Children, & Family Services

Julie Hibben

Bureau of Substance Abuse

Division of Behavioral Health

Department of Public Health

Beth Townsend, Director

Iowa Workforce Development

*Ashley Arnold, Workforce Program Coordinator

Shanell Wagler, Facilitator

Early Childhood Iowa

Ann Lebo, Director

Department of Education

*Jay Pennington

Dale Woolery, Director

Office of Drug Control Policy

 *Agency Designee when member is unable to participate

Recent ICYD Meetings