DHS under fire from lawmakers

Iowa lawmakers are looking at potential solutions to problems in the child welfare system. Department of Human Services officials and others testified at a hearing Monday that comes after the deaths of two teenage girls allegedly starved by their adoptive parents. Lawmakers talked about children with special needs going into the foster care system and the deregulation of the home-school system. Staffing levels at DHS were also a big concern. After the six hour session, the committee co-chairs said they will schedule more meetings after Tuesday's testimony is evaluated.

Meantime, the DHS is calling for an outside agency to conduct a review of the state's child welfare system. The department says the child welfare policy and practice group will look at all areas of system functioning and identify challenges and potential solutions.  The group will be in Iowa at least six times during the coming months. The DHS says it will fully cooperate with the experts and legislators as they examine recent cases and the department's resources.

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