Background: In 2015, 8,298 Iowa children were found by the state to be victims of abuse, and 5,918 children were in foster care. Child welfare services intend to prevent or respond to abuse and neglect and provide for the safety, permanence and well-being of children removed from homes. Yet too many children enter and remain in foster care and do not have permanency in their lives. Each year, children age out of foster care with major barriers to success, and current investments put much greater emphasis on placement than prevention. Additionally, the recent deaths of Iowa youth adopted from the foster care system and the investigations that followed has raised concerns about the capacity of our child protective services.
What actions will you take to reduce the number of children who are subject to abuse and neglect, and how will you ensure that youth aging out of the foster care system have a promising future?