Three-point plan to end string of Iowa child deaths

Senator McCoy and Senator Petersen listen to testimony before Government Ovetrsight Committee members about Senator McCoy and Senator Petersen listen to testimony before Government Ovetrsight Committee members. Natalie Finn is a 16-year old Des Moines girl who died after she was tortured and starved by her parents. Malayia Knapp, another Des Moines resident, was beaten, starved, and imprisoned by her adoptive parents.

A three-point reform plan to prevent another Iowa child from being injured or killed by abuse has been put forth by two members of the Iowa Senate Government Oversight Committee.

“The state has failed at-risk children again and again,” said Senator Janet Petersen, a member of Oversight Committee.  “Iowans are demanding change, they are demanding results, and they do not want to see another child die due to the failures of the Branstad/Reynolds Administration.

Petersen and Senator Matt McCoy, the ranking member of the Oversight Committee, released the following three-point plan to prevent another death like that of Sabrina Ray.  The Iowa teen had been adopted out of foster care and was being home-schooled when her body was found last Friday in a Perry home.

  • We call on Chuck Palmer, Director of the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS), to either resign or be fired by the Branstad/Reynolds Administration.
  • We call on Governor Branstad and Lt. Governor Reynolds to replace Director Palmer with a director experienced in, and deeply committed to, the protection of abused and at-risk children.
  • We call on Governor Branstad, Lt. Governor Reynolds and Legislative Republicans to fix the deadly mistakes they made this spring when they cut $24 million from the DHS budget, including $16 million cut to the field service workers who investigate and protect children at risk of abuse.

Senator McCoy said he is committed to working on a bipartisan solution with Republican legislators.  A Oversight Committee meeting on this issue is planned for Monday, June 5th.

“I am still extremely disappointed that Republican legislators refused to investigate these issues during the legislative session,” McCoy said. “If they had, I’m certain there would have been strong bipartisan support for increasing our investment in child protective services, rather than the cuts imposed by Republicans.”