DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) – A new report says children are at risk of abuse or death in Iowa’s foster care system. The state ombudsman now warns that without more resources to help, those cases of abuse may continue.
The 160-page report follows the death of Iowa teenager Natalie Finn who starved to death while in foster care. Her adopted mother Nicole Finn is now serving life in prison.
The new report shows the Iowa Department of Human Services rejected or mishandled early reports of the abuse which delayed the investigation into Finn’s case.
“We don’t come to a conclusion whether DHS was responsible for Natalie’s death. I think that would be inappropriate to do. The issue here is that there were a number of cumulative mistakes, and no one could predict what would have or could have happened in this case.” Iowa State Ombudsman Kristie Hirschman said.
Kelly Garcia, the acting DHS director said, “We now ask deeper levels of questions, particularly around food and food scarcity, and, and that would have been something that would have served Natalie in a different way.”
Garcia also added that there are a number of changes in the works, including asking for a larger budget, adding more social workers, improving communication with schools and more counseling for DHS investigators.
Read the full report by clicking here.