Iowa’s foster-care system compares well with many others in the latest report from the state’s citizen foster-care review board. Administrator Jerry Foxhoven says the state is better than others in many ways, though there’s a high return rate. Too many kids who go through foster homes, then return to their parents wind up back in foster care. Foxhoven says that’s a result of the state’s strong push to re-unite families, which can send kids home before underlying problems are resolved. Another issue is high caseloads, which prevent workers from spending enough time with kids. The review board’s report says Iowa needs more foster families.He says they don’t do it for the small amount of money, they become foster parents because they want to help kids. The report also calls for more consistent help from attorneys who take the cases of abused or neglected children.Some are public defenders, most private lawyers, but they’re paid rock-bottom rates for the work they do. Foxhoven says the state’s looking at how to accomplish more with less money, and has taken steps to speed the adoption process. He says intervening earlier in troubled families would also help to head off problems and keep down the need for foster care.
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