The director of the Iowa Department of Human Services is continuing the reorganization of the department with the announcement that the agency will convert 23 county offices to part-time status. The D.H.S. has offices in all 99 counties and had converted 34 of those offices to part-time hours in 2002.
D.H.S. director Charlie Krogmeier says more people are seeking assistance on-line and those who don’t will have to adjust to new office hours. Krogmeier says: “Instead of having a full time office in their county to go into and apply for food stamps or Medicaid or other programs, that office may only be open one day a week and there will be an office in a neighboring county that is full time. That can work. It’s not as convenient but it can work.”
Krogmeier also announced the department will consolidate child abuse reporting centers into one single call center in Des Moines. He says that will lead to greater efficiency and also more consistency in how reports of abuse are handled.
“While we do have the same rules, the same law, the same training everybody goes through, you can get some inconsistancies,” Krogmeier says, “and so we would hope that you’re going to have the same the set of supervisors managing that group of people –the same individuals all the time — you’re going to get some better consistency.”
The call center in Des Moines will employee 34 people which is ten fewer than currently required to staff eight call centers. D.H.S. is facing more than 100 layoffs and as many as 450 retirements this year.
These counties will see their offices go from full to part-time: Boone, Cherokee, Crawford, Mills,Plymouth, Page, Madison, Decatur, Marion, Monroe, Appanoose, Keokuk, Washington, Tama, Poweshiek, Jackson, Jones, Delaware, Bremer, Hardin, Wright, Kossuth, Winnebago.