Iowa Department of Human Services director, Charles Krogmeier says a report on child abuse in the state shows a step backwards. Krogmeier says the number of cases reported and confirmed cases had been trending down the last couple of years, but both reports and confirmed cases of child abuse went up 11% in the numbers from 2009. Krogmeier says there doesn’t appear to be any particular trend in the individual cases.
He says the overall percentages for each type of cases has remained about the same, with a lot of the cases involving neglect, such as not feeding a child properly. Krogmeier says case of physical and sexual abuse were a “relatively small part of the numbers.” The state investigated 25,814 reports of child abuse or neglect in 2009 and about two-thirds of the investigations showed that no abuse had occurred.
Krogmeier says the tough economic times are likely behind the increase in abuse cases. “The only thing that I think we can really point to, is the economic stress that families are under is probably spilling over into some additional instances of child neglect and child abuse that are being reported to us,” Krogmeier says.
Confirmed abuse cases dropped for three years from 11,263 in 2006 to 8,779 in 2008. They went back over 10,000 this year. Krogmeier says it’s not something that would lead to major changes at D.H.S., but does raise a concern about a possible trend.
“It’s obviously something we want to watch and we’ll track it, and we’ll look at it probably at the end of six months and see where we are on track for this year, and try to make sure we’re doing our outreach…to get services out there to families that need help,” Krogmeier says.
Krogmeier has this advice for families are facing economic challenges. He says first of all, don’t take it out on your kids, and he says there are resources available through D.H.S. or other resources to help you cope and to help you make sure that the needs of your children are being taken care of.
Krogmeier said that despite increased caseloads, D.H.S. performance has been strong in preventing re-abuse. In data reported for the quarter ending December 31, nearly 92% of abused or neglected children remained abuse-free in the following six months.
You can see the full abuse data spreadsheets for 2003 through 2009 on the D.H.S. website here.