I am reminded today that while I often rail against DHS, there are real cases of child abuse out there and these children need protection.

It seems that most of these cases have a drug connection.  But there are also cases of physical abuse, sexual abuse and just plain old inability of the parents to meet the needs of their children.  These are simply heartbreaking.  Children need and deserve better.  And, besides, it’s a societal problem: if we don’t care for our children, they will turn into the kind of adults who create a whole other set of problems for us.

This is why we have and still need a government department that watches out for children.  It’s their job to evaluate parents who have been reported to them and, if need be, to take these children away from their parents.  Once that happens, then the Court gets involved.   These children and these families need resources, assistance and just someone to point them in the direction of creating a caring and supportive family structure.

And that’s a real problem.  When DHS wastes its time on cases that don’t really matter; when DHS goes after parents on bogus complaints, or, when juvenile court actions are commenced for parents who really are taking care of their children, then the children who do need those resources lose out.

Iowa’s DHS budget is huge, but, it seems routine for DHS workers to tell judges and attorneys that the department doesn’t have the resources to meet all the needs of problem families.

Our kids first.  Great idea, but a difficult one to execute.  Let’s keep trying.