The director of the Iowa Department of Human Services says there is some encouraging news in the latest report on child abuse cases in the state. Kevin Concannon says there’s also some negatives. He says on the down side, they saw a record number of “founded” child cases — as that number went up two percent last year. The report says 13-thousand-544 abuse cases were confirmed in 2005.
Concannon says one big positive is the report shows a continuing decline in sexual abuse cases — which he says follows a 10-year trend. He says there’s also a downward trend of children who’re abused again after the first abuse is reported. The report says nearly 91-percent of the children who had been abused or neglected went six months without re-abuse, a downward trend after the repeat abuse rate has held at 87-percent for the past several years.
Concannon says fighting sexual abuse continues to be a worry. He says it remains a challenge across the country as there are “horrific” cases in Iowa and other states. Concannon says it’s deeply troubling and he says they’re always looking at ways to prevent it. He says poverty is a big factor. Concannon says the increase in single parent families also is a factor in abuse cases.
He says the good news is the state of Iowa has seen it’s teen pregnancy rate reduced, “But that reduction in teen pregnancy in my view is being offset by an increasing number of children being born into single-parent households to people in their 20’s and 30’s.” Concannon says, “kids being born in a single-parent household is a much less stable circumstance than living in a single-parent household after a dissolution of marriage.”
Concannon says another positive for kids relates to the new state meth law. Concannon says there’s been a “significant reduction” in the number of children exposed to meth-making in their home. He says that’s due to the state’s new meth law. But Concannon says meth still poses a problem to Iowa children. He says they still see “many, many children coming to our attention, coming into care, because they’re in families using methamphetamines.” Concannon says the kids are at risk of being exposed to dangerous meth-making chemicals, but he says many don’t get the proper attention from their parents because those parents are meth users. A complete summary of the D-H-S child abuse report is available on-line at www.dhs.state.ia.us.