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Child Welfare by the Numbers, 2010

From the Iowa Department of Human Services

Assessments, abuse findings
– 26,413 assessments for child abuse in calendar 2010, up 2 percent from 2009. Of those:
–  17,432 no finding of abuse. Percentage of “no abuse” findings is similar year after year.
–  6,794 ‘founded’ abuses, compares to 7,011 in ’09, 6,141 in ‘08, 7,096 in ’07, 7,941 in ’06.
–  2,187 ‘confirmed’ abuses (minor and isolated, perpetrator not placed on registry), 1,856 in ‘09.
–  9,908 children were subject of ‘founded’ abuse (10,148 in ’09, 8,779 in ’08, 10,358 in ’07, 11,263 in ’06)
 – 2,687 children were subject of ‘confirmed’ abuse, compares to 2,294 in ‘09.
 – 51 percent of abused or neglected children were age 5 or younger (similar to past years).
–  Of all abuses in calendar 2010:
 – – 81 percent was neglect (denial of critical care), same as ’09, up from 79 percent in ’08.
 – – 9 percent was physical, same as ’09, 11 percent in ’08.
 – – 3.3 percent was sexual, down from slightly less than 4 percent in ’09 and ’08.
 – – 4.3 percent was presence of illegal drugs in body, up from 3.7 percent in ’09, 3.9 percent in ‘08.

Assessing abuse, caseload
Allegations of abuse are screened by a central intake unit in Des Moines. Accepted intakes are investigated by county-based DHS assessors. When abuse is founded, a separate group of DHS social workers supervise the ongoing care and services for children and their families. Those services are performed by non-government
social service agencies under performance contracts. The monthly average DHS caseload in 2009:
–  200 DHS assessors, down from 222 in ’09, were assigned an average of 12.5 new cases a month, up
from 11 in ‘09.
 – 385 DHS social work case managers, down from 449 in ’09, had an average child welfare caseload of 27. In addition to supervising services, a goal for these workers is to visit every child and every child’s parents every month. These workers also perform adult services, home studies, etc.

Highlights, results of Iowa’s child-welfare redesign launched in 2005, 2006
–  Require consistent assessments based on risk, age, and severity of abuse. Focus on children with highest risk.
–  Provide optional, free, and “non-DHS” help for families where re-abuse risk is low.
–  Reduce racial disparities. Gap is narrowing for both African American and Native Americans.
–  Focus on best-practice results (lowering rates of re-abuse, increasing rate of speedy reunification, etc.).
–  Boost service for older foster youth. Program for “aged out” youth serves hundreds.
 – Transparent results. In quarter ending 12/10:
 – – 91 percent of all abused or neglected children were abuse-free in following six months.
 – – 99.8 percent of abused or neglected children placed in foster care remained safe from abuse.
 – – 86.4 percent of reunified children did not re-enter foster care within a year.
 – Engage families in plan for improvement, especially via family team meetings and parent mentors.
–  Keep once-abused children at home if safe to do so. 80 percent of abused children remained in the family home with the support of services in 2010.|

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