child abuse

Witness’ account of a child’s re-enactment of abuse was allowable, Iowa Supreme Court says

BY: - April 23, 2021

Should Iowa courts allow witnesses to describe a small child’s unspoken re-enactment of alleged abuse, or should such evidence be barred from trials as hearsay? That was one of the questions the Iowa Supreme Court dealt with Friday in upholding the conviction of a day care worker accused of choking a 4-year-old child. Shanna Dessinger […]

Reynolds defends DHS’ efforts to protect Iowa children

BY: - September 10, 2020

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said Thursday she’s not sure why the state committee tasked with reviewing child deaths in Iowa hasn’t convened in 20 years. In 2000, Iowa legislators authorized the state medical examiner to convene a Child Fatality Review Committee to investigate child deaths in Iowa with the goal of determining whether the Iowa […]

Report: DHS discouraged complaints, then failed to investigate Sabrina Ray’s death

BY: - September 8, 2020

The Iowa Office of Ombudsman says the state agency tasked with protecting Iowa’s children wrongly rejected child-abuse reports in the months leading up to the starvation death of 16-year-old Sabrina Ray, and then failed to conduct an internal review of its own actions. The newly published 146-page report also takes DHS to task for having […]

Ombudsman calls for vigilance in fighting child abuse

BY: - April 24, 2020

Responding to a sharp decline in child-abuse reports, Iowa Ombudsman Kristie Hirschman is calling on the public to remain vigilant in watching for and reporting child abuse. With the mid-March closing of Iowa schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic, reports of child abuse made to the Iowa Department of Human Services have fallen dramatically. They […]

Iowa DHS: Drop in abuse, neglect reports is ‘concerning’

BY: - April 15, 2020

A drop in reports of abuse and neglect of children and vulnerable adults may actually be a sign of trouble, Kelly Garcia, director of the Iowa Department of Human Services, said Wednesday. “At DHS, we’re paying really close attention to abuse reports, which sadly, have dropped,” Garcia said Wednesday during Gov. Kim Reynolds’ news conference. […]

Ombudsman: Natalie Finn’s death followed ‘a tragedy of errors’ by state agency

BY: - February 17, 2020

The death of teenager Natalie Finn followed a series of errors and missed opportunities within Iowa’s child-protection system, according to the state Office of Ombudsman. The office on Monday released a long-awaited, 160-page report detailing its investigation into the manner in which the Iowa Department of Human Services handled child-abuse reports pertaining to 16-year-old Natalie […]