Two teams of Iowans are focusing this week on the state’s child welfare system. Lawmakers in Des Moines are interviewing social workers, trying to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the system. North Central Iowa human services manager Evan Klenk says the biggest weakness is high case loads for social workers — some of the highest caseloads in the nation. Klenk says the amount of time workers have to make decisions affects their ability to do a comprehensive assessment. He says while there have been a few high-profile child abuse cases, Iowa has been fortunate to be able to maintain child safety. He cites a recent federal review of Iowa’s child welfare system.Klenk says Iowa social workers who review child abuse reports have among the highest caseloads in the country. Klenk says the legislature has demonstrated a commitment to redesigning the system that will yield better results. Klenk says the goals are to reduce the number of child abuse cases in Iowa, reduce the number of moves a child makes once they’re put in foster care, and get kids more quickly adopted when their parents are ruled unfit. Another team of Iowans met in Williamsburg Monday and Tuesday to examine the system and start thinking of what changes can be made.
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