County officials from around the state are asking the Iowa Legislature to take steps to “shore-up” the state’s child protective system. Iowa State Association of Counties executive director Bill Peterson says because of the state’s financial difficulties, not as many resources are being spent on child protective programs as county officials would like. Peterson says spending money now to help “at-risk” kids in an abusive home pays dividends in the long run because without early help, those kids may wind up in trouble later in life.Peterson says counties have a huge responsibility to cover jail and court costs for troubled kids who wind up in trouble with the law. Peterson says at-risk kids don’t always end up being charged with crimes as juveniles or adults, but he says there’s enough evidence to suggest helping children when they’re young and in a bad home is well worth the state’s investment. The Iowa State Association of Counties held its annual meeting last week, and among its top priorities was getting legislators to spend more money on social workers for child abuse cases and other “child protective” services.
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