IACAA offers a comprehensive catalog in support of the Illinois CAA network

Board Development Training for Private and Public Boards

This training meets the requirements of IM 138 for board service and provides insight into the governing role of the CAA board member/advisory board member.

Certified Community Action Professional Credential

Community Action Partnership’s national credential program. Each year, IACAA hosts an Illinois cohort with Charles McCann, CCAP emeritus. There are seven sessions spread through October to May to equip CCAP candidates with the knowledge and direction needed to become a CCAP. More information

Community Needs Assessments and Community Action Plans

CNAs and CAPs are foundational documents that guide the work and fulfill the mission of the CAA. Training is provided to focus on the why and how to develop, create and use, infused with ROMA and good data practices.

Community Development

Community Development training assists CAAs to build their capacity to engage in robust community and economic development in using proven models and approaches that both work in and with the community.

Community Engagement

Community Development training guides CAAs through the seven capitals which comprise the communities in which the serve: social, natural, financial, built, cultural, political, and human. In doing so, CAAs build their capacity to see how the population they serve interacts within the community around them, providing a platform on which to discuss the creation of opportunities for communities to thrive by working together to build upon their collective assets.

Customer Service

Serving and engaging with customers is the life blood of CAAs. The challenge of customer service is having the ability and capacity to serve and care for all customers with equity, humility and understanding. IM 138 points to Maximum Feasible Participation as a pillar for agency mission, perspective and work.


Looking to strengthen your data collection and data analysis processes to inform decision making at your agency? In this training we will identify the processes and tools your CAA currently uses to collect data and store data. We will discuss data analysis techniques and how the analysis of your data should play a critical role in creating information for agency decision making. Keeping in mind that tracking of services is crucial to how you analyze data for decision making and tell your CAA story.

IACAA Training in action
Christine Westerlund leading a IACAA Training Programs

Family and Community Development Specialist Credential

More popularly known as FCD Specialist training, this learning opportunity equips community action staff with the mindset and skills needed to work with families and individuals who experience low-income.  Using a blend of problem-based learning with the strength-based perspective, FCD Specialist curriculum consists of:

  • Introduction to Community Action
  • Poverty Informed Practices
  • Trauma Informed Practices
  • Community Engagement
  • Cultural Competency
  • Goal Setting
  • Family Engagement through problem based learning

IACAA partners with the University of Illinois – Springfield – Child Protection Academy faculty to present this five day, blended training.  To become certified, the FCD Specialist candidate must attend each day of training, pass an exam and submit a portfolio of work that includes reflective practice journaling, a presentation focused on family work and an agency document review.


IACAA staff can meet your training needs in multiple areas, including Human Resources and Fiscal operations. We can connect you to experts and have expertise in many disciplines.

Poverty Informed

Poverty is complex and the experience of poverty impacts how CAAs connect with customers in multiple ways. By building poverty knowledge and perspectives, agencies enrich operations and engage customers from where they are at. IACAA staff hold credentials as poverty coaches, family-centered coaching, and as a Beegle Gold Star speaker.

CSBG Contractual Trainings

Each year, IACAA contracts with DCEO to provide trainings to assist Illinois CAAs in improving internal and external practices, support new initiatives and introduce new and emerging practices.  Each year, the training schedule follows, generally, the Organizational Standards subheadings of Maximum Feasible Participation, Vision and Direction, and Operations and Accountability. IACAA’s Organizational and Program Development Committee provides valued guidance into the training calendar and an annual survey provides insight.  Additionally, each year, the contract supports CCAP, ROMA, the monthly webinar series and special projects.  The current focus is on Maximum Feasible Participation, which includes:

  • Customer Service, Care and Participation
  • Community Needs Assessments
  • Community Action Plans
  • Community Engagement
  • Focus Groups
  • Data gathering and use
  • IACAA Annual Conference support


Results-Oriented Management and Accountability training (better known as ROMA) is Community Action’s performance management system. Designed by Fredrick Richmond and Dr. Barbara Mooney, ROMA was launched in 1994 in response to the Government Performance and Results Act, which mandated that all federally funded programs have a results-driven orientation. The first class of national ROMA trainers was launched in 2001 and since that time, local CAAs are encouraged to undertake a number of ROMA implementation actions that focus on results-oriented management and accountability.

Results-Oriented Management Principles

  • Assess poverty needs and conditions within the community.
  • Define a clear anti-poverty mission for the CSBG Network and the strategies and services to address those needs, both immediate and longer-term, in the context of existing resources and opportunities in the community.
  • Identify specific improvements, or results, to be achieved among people with low-incomes and communities in which they live.
  • Organize and implement programs, services, and strategies within the agency and among partnering organizations, to achieve anticipated results.

Results-Oriented Accountability Principles

  • Develop and implement processes to identify, measure, and record improvements in the condition of people with low-incomes and the communities in which they live
    that result from CSBG Network intervention.
  • Use information about outcomes, or results, among agency tripartite boards and staff to determine overall effectiveness; inform annual and long-range planning, and promote new funding and community partnership activities.
  • Encourage state CSBG offices and state CAA associations to work in coordination to advance ROMA performance-based concepts among CSBG Eligible Entities through ongoing training and technical assistance.

ROMA training is available through IACCA or can be arranged with ROMA trainers in your area of Illinois. It is typically a full day and a half of training that focuses on:

  • History
  • Mission and Theory of Change
  • Community Assessment
  • Developing Results-Oriented Plans
  • Implementing the Plan
  • Measuring Performance, Considering Standards
  • Using Measuring Tools, Tracking Progress
  • Managing Performance with Logic Models

Training to become a ROMA Professional is arranged through the National Peer to Peer Project and is coordinated by Dr. Barbara Mooney. Each year, IACAA coordinates sessions to equip both ROMA trainers and ROMA implementer candidates with the credential.

For more information, booking and pricing, contact Christine Westerlund at 217/789-0125, ext. 118 or

Strategic Planning

The CAA Strategic Plan is the third pillar of the CNA and CAP. IM 138 notes, “Establishing the vision for a CAA is a big task, and setting the course to reach it through strategic planning is serious business.” It is a blend of internal functioning and community needs that must examine and plan for family, agency, and community goals.


CAAs work with individuals and families that experience poverty, and research connects poverty to the experience of trauma. It is widely known that trauma impacts brain function, especially in the areas of executive functions, organization, and decision making. Moving the CAA from Trauma awareness to Trauma-Informed is learning how to create an environment that is welcoming and equipped to provide assistance from multiple perspectives.

Fee for Service Trainings

IACAA staff members Christine Westerlund and Carli Wiltsie are available for fee for service training to support agencies in their work.  These offerings include:

  • Board of Director trainings
  • Customer Service training – trauma and poverty informed
  • Data analysis and use
  • Family Centered Coaching
  • Introduction to ROMA
  • Motivational Interviewing
  • Poverty Coaching
  • ROMA for Boards
  • Strategic Planning
  • Trauma Informed
  • Consultation – data and customer practices

Poverty Simulation

The Community Action Poverty Simulation (CAPS) promotes a greater understanding of poverty. During the simulation, participants role-play the lives of low-income families from single parents trying to care for their children to senior citizens trying to maintain their self-sufficiency on Social Security. This is a live-action simulation to role-play the lives of low-income families.

Poverty is a reality for many individuals and families, but unless you have experienced poverty, it is difficult to truly understand. The CAPS bridges that gap from misconception to understanding. CAPS is an interactive immersion experience. It sensitizes community participants to the realities of poverty.

Why a Simulation? To understand poverty through an experiential setting, empower low-income volunteers to interact with leaders from their community, and to view poverty as reality. CAPS is not a game. It is based on real Community Action clients and their lives. CAPS exists to: promote poverty awareness, increase understanding, inspire local change, and transform perspectives

Who Does Poverty Simulations? CAPS is a unique tool used by over 2,000 different organizations worldwide. CAPS is the first step to get people and communities moving. Some examples of groups who have used the simulation experience include: customer service groups, health care professionals, educators, students, social service providers, elected officials, management staff, community organizations, and corporations

For booking and pricing, please contact Andrew Rains at 217-789-0125 or