Governor Chet Culver says it’s "too early to know" whether the Department of Human Services did anything wrong in its review of a baby’s welfare.
Last month, a Des Moines infant was treated for a broken arm and, while the D.H.S. launched an investigation, the child remained with his parents. The baby’s father is Jonas Neiderbach, son of Jon Neiderbach — a financial analyst for the Department of Human Services. The baby and his parents were living in Jon Neiderbach’s home. The baby is now in critical condition in a Des Moines hospital, being treated for head trauma and broken ribs — injuries the boy suffered last week.
Governor Culver says he is "extremely concerned" about what has happened.
"My thoughts and prayers go out to this child, in particular," Culver says. "We are going to get to the bottom of this and we will use every resource in state govt, including the Division of Criminal Investigation in the Department of Public Safety to get to the bottom of this and to hold those individuals accountable for this horrific abuse."
Culver is not yet ready to say whether the D.H.S. was wrong to allow the baby to stay with the parents after the boy’s broken arm was reported to authorities.
"It’s too early to know," Culver says. "We’re putting everything together, getting the facts on the table. I’ve had a number of discussions with indivuduals at different agencies and within the (governor’s) office about the urgency and the speed at which I want to move forward and get — again, hold those accountable."
Culver hints that he cannot release more details of the case, because of the criminal investigation.
"We are doing a full and complete investigation," Culver told statehouse reporters Tuesday afternoon, "and we will have more to say as I am permitted to share details."
This past spring, Culver appointed his chief of staff to serve as director of the Department of Human Services.
Click on the audio link below to listen to Culver’s brief discussion of the case.