Janice Lane Schroeder learned through her own family’s service to others. Her father, the Rev. Hardest Lane, founded the nonprofit H.E. Lane Center for Positive Change to assist men reentering the community from incarceration, and her mother, Janice O. Lane, a missionary and National Merit Scholarship Corp. administrator, led work establishing a family reunification center so women could be visited by their children. 

“From the very beginning, we’ve always been a family that gives back,” Lane Schroeder said. 

Lane Schroeder never left that work behind. She began her career working with chemically dependent adults and now leads Children and Families of Iowa’s statewide work to serve families harmed by substance abuse, mental health crises, domestic abuse and other life circumstances.

“I’m always part of a team. Not necessarily the leader, but I’m going to be a strong member and I’m going to try to give it my all with whatever I do,” she said. 

Through development of the African American Case Review Team, Lane Schroeder studied how Black families involved in child welfare services were affected by interventions. Working with the Department of Human Services, Lane Schroeder and her team established mentorship programs to reunify more than 1,000 parents with their children each year. 

“There are times we make unintentional consequences for the kids and families that we serve. … Our intent is not to separate kids and families. It’s to keep them together,” she said. 

Being innovative in problem-solving is the fun part. “When you see the outcomes -- wow, that worked -- this is when we glean a new resource, a new partner. And sometimes with the partnerships, it’s not extra money -- it’s just putting the pieces together.” 

Education doesn’t stop with parents -- effectively serving families also means educating extended relatives, employers, local courts and state legislators, Lane Schroeder said. 

“There are some that believe some of the families that we serve don’t want anything different. I’m here to show them that yes, they do.” 

Lane Schroeder has a few more projects on her bucket list: developing a multicultural, clinical team specializing in child welfare in marginalized communities; further establishing existing initiatives in early childhood education and parent-child educational opportunities; developing more accessible mental health care treatments for survivors of domestic abuse; and improving employment education for youths. 

“It’s never been about me, it’s always been about how we can make a difference,” she said. “The joy and the credit goes to the kids and families, because they did it. We were there to be a part of their success.” 

Education B.A. and M.A., University of Iowa
Hometown Evanston, Ill.  
Family Husband Ronald and goddaughter Samantha Jones
Age 62 
Hobbies Listening to music, reading books, attending and developing leadership conferences for women and teenagers

“The true measure of success is how much you do for others.”  


She establishes lasting partnerships between CFI and governments or nonprofits to expand necessary services to families suffering from substance abuse, domestic violence and more. 

She is an advocate for children of color in Iowa, strategizing to reduce disproportionate racial representation in foster care and build culturally supportive networks. 

She is a member and leader in at least nine regional and national organizations, including the National Association of Social Workers and Delta Sigma Theta sorority.