Department of Human Services Brings in Outside Group to Conduct Review

Iowa Department of Human Services logo

DES MOINES, Iowa  —  The Iowa Department of Human Services is bringing in an outside group to review its child welfare system.

The DHS announced Monday morning that The Child Welfare Policy and Practice Group (CWG) will conduct an outside review of the agency’s work.  That review will include at least six visits to Iowa by CWG employees.

The announcement comes as the Joint Oversight Committee of the Iowa legislature begins it’s hearings into the DHS in the wake of two high profile deaths of children in their system.  16-year-olds Natalie Finn and Sabrina Ray both died in their adoptive homes in the last year after apparently being starved and abused.  Their parents, Nicole and Joseph Finn and Marc and Misty Ray, are currently awaiting trials for abusing the girls and their siblings.

“We want to do whatever we can to keep children from suffering at the hands of abusers who try to subvert the child protective system,” DHS administrator of Adult, Child and Family Services Wendy Rickman said in a news release,  “We are committed to working with this outside expert, legislators and stakeholders to do a careful review and define meaningful areas to address within our child welfare system.”

According to its website, CWG has worked with state and local governments for the last 20 years to provide review, training and curriculum development for child welfare, mental health and juvenile justice systems.