Child Welfare Decategorization “Decat” Project


The Child Welfare Decategorization Project is an effort to significantly change the child welfare system to one that is needs based, family focused, easily accessible, more intensive, less restrictive, and cost effective by “Decategorizing” services from a state level to a local level.

The Child Welfare Decategorization Program was authorized by the Iowa General Assembly in 1987 as an initiative designed to deliver more effective services to children and families.

The goals of the 1987 legislation were to:

  • enhance the array of services available to clients to better meet their needs
  • overcome some of the problems and barriers to serving clients which traditional categorical funding streams presented
  • accomplish major system changes without spending more than would have been spent in the former categorical system

The decategorization initiative was developed in response to:

  • The growing number of children going into foster care
  • The need to increase emphasis on early intervention and prevention services
  • Community values which support the reality that most families, even dysfunctional ones, do a better job of raising children than the government
  • The recognition that local jurisdictions are much more in touch with the needs of their children and families and have the capability to respond quicker and more appropriately than the state bureaucracy

Decategorization projects are organized by county or clusters of counties.  Today there are 40 decategorization projects across the state of Iowa, covering all 99 counties.  The Creston Decat Cluster includes Adair, Adams, & Union Counties and the Leon Decat Cluster includes Clarke, Decatur, Lucas, Ringgold, & Wayne Counties.

Decat Powerpoint


Creston Governance Board

Leon Governance Board

For more information you can contact Jocelyn Blazek, Decat/CPPC Coordinator, 304 North Pine St., Creston,  IA 50801 641-782-1745 ext. 2026