A final report from the American Humane Association on Iowa’s child protection system reiterates much of what was said in a draft report released last month. A-H-A Director of Children’s Services, Paul Dilorenzo says Iowa has some of the highest caseloads in the nation.Despite the caseloads, Dilorenzo says Iowa social workers seem far more committed to their jobs than colleagues in other states. He says there do need to be some changes in the system. He says there are a lot of challenges, but not so many that the system is about to sink.Department of Human Services director Jesse Rassmussen says she’ll push the legislature to approve five million dollars for 94 new caseworkers and 50 new supervisors.Democrat Representative Ro Foege of Mount Vernon says hiring more case workers is essential to keeping kids safe in the home.Foege is a former child abuse investigator. He says the child welfare system has been neglected. Republican legislators will press for enhanced training of teachers, doctors and other “mandatory reporters” of suspected child abuse. House Speaker Brent Siegrist, a republican from Council Bluffs, says high-profile child abuse cases show the present level of training is inadequate for those named, by law, as “mandatory reporters” of abuse.Siegrist, who is a republican, suggests two former democrat lawmakers who are Iowa-based consultants be hired to come up with a new training program.Siegrist has also asked two G-O-P lawmakers to meet with the Chief Justice of the Iowa Supreme Court to explore ways Iowa law might be changed to make it easier to prosecute child abuse cases.
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