Skip to comments.Iowa DHS has set routine to investigate allegations of child abuse
Posted on 11/08/2005 5:18:09 AM PST by richierichIII
The Iowa Department of Human Services takes several steps to determine if a child is in danger. Decisions are based on criteria outlined by the law. This is how the Department of Human Services handles an abuse report:
(Excerpt) Read more at globegazette.com ...
1. Parental neglect - allowing a child to run the neighborhood or city is endangerment in my book because the child will soon become a target for sexual predators or a victim of any one of many other types of harmful or possibly deadly incidents.
2. Marijuana Use - Marijuana is not considered a dangerous drug by DHS but again I see it as a contributing factor to neglect and endangerment. Light pot users can probably function as a parent as can light drinkers. It only makes sense that if alcohol or marijuana is being abused; the parent(s) will almost without doubt become neglectful.
Proper evaluation of parental activities when situations of danger to a child arise could save many children and allow them to grow into productive adults. The alternative is to have them follow in the footsteps of their parents when they are grown, be physically or mentally damaged or to not survive at all.
3. Police Reporters - Police are mandatory reporters and I feel that children who are living in a house where a police emergency call has been made need immediate and special attention. The police need to contact DHS immediately if they feel that the child was in danger or if the child may become endangered by the parents' actions after the police have left. This is most often NOT done and was never, to my knowledge, done in Evelyn's case!
For more child abuse information see Prevent Child Abuse Iowa http://www.pcaiowa.org which has many links to sites about child abuse.
Saw the article in the Globe yesterday. Why is everyone sticking their nose in other people's business?
Published: Monday, November 7, 2005 12:22 AM CST
Iowa DHS has set routine to investigate allegations of child abuseBy TODD DORMAN, Globe Gazette Des Moines Bureau
The Iowa Department of Human Services takes several steps to determine if a child is in danger.
Decisions are based on criteria outlined by the law.
This is how the Department of Human Services handles an abuse report:
THE CALL DHS offices across Iowa receive roughly 36,000 child abuse reports from citizens each year, according to department spokesman Roger Munns.
Most calls are from mandatory reporters, such as teachers, day care workers and others who work with children and are required by law to report suspected abuse.
Other calls come from permissive reporters, who are under no legal obligation to report abuse and can choose to remain anonymous.
WHO ANSWERS? During business hours, abuse report calls are forwarded to the closest DHS office and are fielded by professional social workers or case managers. During off hours, trained operators at the state juvenile facility in Eldora field calls and forward reports to local DHS offices.
DOES IT ADD UP? DHS staff who take the call and their supervisor first decide whether the information reported, if completely accurate, would add up to child abuse.
It must meet three criteria, according to Wendy Rickman, a DHS service area manager based in Des Moines. The report must involve a child, a caretaker and an action that causes injury or puts the child at risk of being hurt or killed.
If the report meets the criteria, the case is assigned to an assessment worker. If the case does not meet the criteria, no action is taken. One-third to one-quarter of all calls received are weeded out through this process.
Do we have enough information to intervene in this family affair? Rickman said the department tries to determine.
Reporters who provide their names will receive a letter from the DHS explaining how the report was handled. Reporters who disagree with the outcome can request that a workers supervisor take a second look.
INVESTIGATION A DHS assessor has 20 working days to contact the family, investigate the claim and determine whether abuse or neglect occurred. The worker must also assess whether the child is still at risk.
Iowa law spells out specific abuse categories:
* Denial of critical care Leaving young children alone, failing to provide proper nourishment and sanitary conditions or failing to provide medical care are all examples of this category.
During 2004, 68 percent of the 14,499 children who suffered abuse in Iowa fell into this category, according to Prevent Child Abuse Iowa.
* Physical abuse Abuse that causes injury falls into this category.
Generally speaking, there has to be a mark, something you can prove, said Munns. Physical abuse accounted for 14.2 percent of cases in 2004.
* Sexual abuse More than 1,100 abuse cases in Iowa last year involved sexual abuse, or 6.2 percent.
* Drugs The presence of illegal drugs in a childs body or the manufacture of methamphetamine in a childs presence each constitute abuse. During 2004, 2,012 abuse cases fell into those two categories.
REPORT The assessment worker issues a report detailing whether the abuse claim is unfounded, confirmed or founded.
* Unfounded: The investigator is unable to substantiate the claim by a preponderance of evidence. The worker may still refer the family to counseling or other community-based services.
Two-thirds of all abuse reports investigated are unfounded.
* Confirmed: The DHS assessor concludes that abuse did occur. It is also determined that the incident was minor, isolated and unlikely to reoccur.
* Founded: The reported incident is not minor or isolated and the child remains at risk, prompting the DHS to open a case file and hand the matter over to a permanent case manager.
Under the best-case scenario, a case manager is able to work out a strategy with the family that allows the child to remain in the home. Substance abuse treatment is a common part of that strategy, but several other services are available.
Under the worst-case scenario, however, a child is removed from the home and placed in foster care. Most children eventually are returned to parents or relatives.
In a small number of cases, parental rights are terminated by the courts.
Assessment reports also are sent to local county attorneys, who can ask the DHS to reassess a case if they disagree with the agencys conclusions.
In the case of mandatory reporters (per the article), the law requires them to do so. Ask any teacher or pediatrician.
In the case of permissive reporters, it might very well be that they actually care. Or, it could be, as the governor put it so lovingly last month, because they have "an ax to grind."
I think any drug or alcohol use by parent should result in prison for the user and remove the children from the home. Expense about $45,000 per year. A price we taxpayers will gladly pay.
1. Some people might think you're serious.
2. Some people might think you're serious and wholeheartedly agree with it.
just going with the theme
Still does not give them the right to be busybodies in everyone else's business.
Yes, I know what you mean. It's a relative thing. Not a "right" but, at some point, it becomes an obligation.
For instance, if I have reason to believe that the girl next door is being victimized by her mother's live-in, I'm not going to think twice about minding my own business.
Surely it's possible that, if certain people had reported their observations instead of deciding to "mind their own business," Evelyn Miller could be alive today.
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