Henry County ranks 15th in Iowa in child-abuse reports
By STEPH TAHTINEN
Mt. Pleasant News
Picture 1,000 children from Henry County gathered into a room together. Of those 1,000 children, 26.45 of them have been abused.
This information, gathered by the Iowa Department of Human Services in 2011, shows Henry County ranked 15th among the state’s 99 counties for the rate of child abuse reports.
In 2011, there were 228 reports of child abuse in Henry County. Of these reports, there were 85 that were confirmed or founded, making a confirmation rate of 37.3 percent. Looking at the number of children affected, there were 113 abused children.
These facts were given to the Henry County Board of Supervisors on Thursday morning during a presentation from the Henry County Community Partnerships for Protecting Children (CPPC).
CPPC is a community-based approach to child protection, as the whole community suffers when children are subjected to abuse. The initiative is guided by two organizations: the Iowa Department of Human Services and Prevent Child Abuse Iowa.
“The key idea is that protecting children is everybody’s business,” said Arin Jones, program coordinator for Henry County CPPC. “We all need to be involved.”
In Henry County, CPPC has formed the Henry County Child Advocacy Council (HCCAC), which works closely with Healthy Henry County Communities.
HCCAC meets from 12 to 1 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month at the Henry County Extension Office. Jones noted the group is seeking more involvement from educators, faith-based organizations, businesses and general community members.
“We want as much participation as possible,” said Jones.
The group is currently making plans for Child Abuse Prevention Month in April, which was officially recognized by the board of supervisors on Thursday morning via a proclamation read by Supervisor Chairman Gary See.
CPPC will be delivering and planting pinwheels around the county to raise awareness and also will hold a Light of Hope program at the end of April.
In other business, the supervisors heard a monthly update from Sarah Kaufman, Henry County CPC (central point of coordination).
Kaufman noted that the letter of intent to form a region has been turned into the state and now the six counties in Southeast Iowa must wait to see if their plans are approved by the state.
In the meantime, the six counties involved in the region will be working on the 28E agreement that will outline the way the region will be run.
Mental health redesign in the state of Iowa has determined that the counties form regions for mental health service in an attempt to equalize services across the state. Henry County will be forming a six-county region with Keokuk, Washington, Lee Des Moines and Louisa counties. The state expects the region to be functioning by July 1, 2014.
The supervisors also:
Approved a revision to the employee status section in the county’s employee handbook changing part-time employees from 32 hours per week for 52 weeks per year to 29 ½ hours per week for 52 weeks per year. This revision is due to the Affordable Care Act so that the county does not have to provide health insurance to part-time employees.
Approved a county substance abuse reimbursement of $5,071 from Alcohol and Drug Dependency Services (ADDS).
Approved a Class C Beer Permit for Jet Stop Salem Stub.