The new director of Iowa’s human services agency admits that a touted redesign of the child-welfare system won’t save any money this year. D-H-S director Kevin Concannon says he’s drawn down more federal funding to cover a shortfall in the agency’s budget so far. Concannon says the agency will get its “day in court,” able to tell the legislature within a couple months what it’ll need. But state senator Jack Hatch is calling for an emergency spending bill for child services. Hatch says we should “backfill” the cost of the agency’s operations so it can serve children who need it. The democratic state senator says the legislature should step in with a 10-million-dollar emergency payment. Hatch says if the Republican legislature does not want to use the rainy day fund to protect children, that’s their problem. But Concannon, who headed health and human service agencies in Maine and Oregon before coming to Iowa, says He cites a wine commercial that you should “serve no wine before its time” but says there’s no need to rush consideration of the adequate funding, though he agrees the child welfare system is underfunded. The chair of the senate human-services budget committee, Bettendorf Republican Maggie Tinsman, says if the agency’s own director says he can wait till next year for the money, lawmakers will go along with that.
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