DHS FAILURE: Reports Of Child Sexual Activity

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A report by the Iowa Ombudsman’s Office says the Department of Human Services failed in its duty to closely monitor a Des Moines child care center where children had been reported engaging in inappropriate sexual activity.

The incidents happened in 2010 at the Child Development Center, which is owned by Children and Families of Iowa. The first report was of a child putting his hand in other children’s pants. The Ombudsman’s report revealed administrators ignored staff reports about the incident and parents with children at the center weren’t properly notified about the incident.

About two weeks after the first report, another incident occurred. Officials say several male children engaged in sexual behavior, and were able to do so because they were not being properly supervised. One teacher was out of the room at the time and another was tending to a child who had been injured while playing.

DHS considered suspending the license of the CDC following the report but an administrator decided against taking that action. Instead, a provisional license was granted.

“Our greatest concern was the failure by the DHS to visit the center over a crucial eight-month period after the incidents and to verify the center was correction its problems in a timely manner, “ says Ombudsman Ruth Cooperrider.

The Ombudsman’s report includes several recommendations to the DHS, such as making sure parents are immediately notified about children engaging in age-inappropriate sexual behavior and improving its website so child care customers can obtain regular informational updates about care centers.

“May improvements have been made at our CDC since spring of 2010, a time when the CDC had recently experienced a change in leadership,” says CFI Chief Executive Officer Gloria Gray.

You can read the entire 83-page report here.