Home

Iowa Press Transcripts

Iowa Press Links

Iowa Press #2802 - Sen. Johnie Hammond and Rep. Dan Boddicker
September 10, 2000

Borg: DARK CLOUDS HANG OVER IOWA'S DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES. WE'LL SEEK ASSESSMENTS FROM STATE LEGISLATORS, SENATOR JOHNIE HAMMOND OF AMES AND REPRESENTATIVE DAN BODDICKER OF TIPTON, ON THIS EDITION OF IOWA PRESS.

FUNDING FOR IOWA PRESS HAS BEEN PROVIDED BY FRIENDS OF IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION. BY THE IOWA BANKERS ASSOCIATION... FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS, AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS. AND BY THE ASSOCIATION OF BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY... THE VOICE OF IOWA BUSINESS REPRESENTING THE INTERESTS OF OVER 1,500 IOWA BUSINESSES EMPLOYING 300,000 IOWANS.

THIS IS THE SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 10TH EDITION OF IOWA PRESS. HERE IS DEAN BORG.

Borg: THE IOWA DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES IS HAVING A TOUGH TIME STAYING OFF THE FRONT PAGES THESE DAYS. THE DEPARTMENT'S HANDLING OF THE SHELBY DUIS CASE HAS BROUGHT LIGHTNING SHARP CRITICISM. FOLLOWING THE BEATING DEATH OF A TWO-YEAR-OLD SPIRIT LAKE CHILD IN JANUARY, CRITICS SAY DHS STAFFERS DIDN'T ACT TO PROTECT THE CHILD. WITHOUT QUESTION, AN EXAMINATION OF THE HUMAN SERVICES AGENCY'S PROCEDURES WILL BE HIGH ON LEGISLATORS' AGENDA. AND ON ANOTHER FRONT, REPUBLICAN LEGISLATORS ARE CALLING FOR AN INVESTIGATION INTO FEES PAID TO CONSULTANTS HIRED BY THE HUMAN SERVICES DEPARTMENT. STATE AUDITOR RICHARD JOHNSON SAYS IOWA IS DUE A REFUND ON SOME QUESTIONABLE EXPENSES RUN UP BY THE OUTSIDE CONSULTANTS. SO IT'S WITH THAT BACKDROP THAT TWO LEGISLATORS FAMILIAR WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES JOIN US TODAY. TIPTON REPUBLICAN DAN BODDICKER CHAIRS THE HUMAN RESOURCES COMMITTEE IN THE IOWA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, AND AMES DEMOCRAT JOHNIE HAMMOND IS THE SENIOR -- IS A SENIOR MEMBER OF THE SENATE'S HUMAN RESOURCES COMMITTEE. WELCOME BACK TO IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION.

THANK YOU.

Borg: AND YOU KNOW THE TWO PEOPLE ACROSS THE TABLE FROM YOU: STATEHOUSE REPORTERS DAVID YEPSEN OF THE DES MOINES REGISTER AND KAY HENDERSON OF RADIO IOWA.

Henderson: REPRESENTATIVE BODDICKER, IS IT TIME FOR A HOUSE CLEANING AT THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES?

Boddicker: WELL, I THINK THAT IT PROBABLY IS A GOOD TIME FOR THAT. I WAS PRETTY VOCAL IN MY OPPOSITION TO DIRECTOR RASMUSSEN'S APPOINTMENT AND CONFIRMATION, BUT ONCE THAT'S OVER WITH, IT'S TIME TO GIVE HER A CHANCE TO SHOW WHAT SHE'S GOT. I THINK SHE DROPPED THE BALL ON SEVERAL ISSUES, AND I THINK IT'S TIME FOR THE GOVERNOR TO APPROACH HER ABOUT MOVING ON.

Henderson: IS IT TIME FOR RASMUSSEN TO GO, SENATOR HAMMOND?

Hammond: I DON'T THINK SO. I THINK IT'S A TIME TO SIT DOWN AND REASSESS HOW THINGS ARE GOING AND TO EVALUATE HOW IT CAN BE DONE BETTER, BUT I DON'T THINK IT'S TIME TO GO. I THINK SHE'S DONE AN EXCELLENT JOB IN MANY AREAS. YOU KNOW SHE'S BEEN ON DUTY 17 MONTHS, AND IF SHE HAS BOTCHED IT ON TWO CONTRACTS, AND IF YOU CAN PUT THE BLAME ON HER ON THE SHELBY DUIS CASE, THEN THAT ALSO -- AND I CERTAINLY DON'T WANT TO MINIMIZE THE IMPORTANCE OF THAT, BUT WITH THE RANGE OF ISSUES THAT SHE HAS TO DEAL WITH, THAT'S NOT TOO BAD. TWO CONTRACTS, ONE OF THEM FOR $22,000... YOU KNOW, SHE'S DOING WELL, I THINK.

Yepsen: MR. BODDICKER, WHY DO YOU THINK JESSIE RASMUSSEN SHOULD GO?

Boddicker: I THINK THAT A LOT OF THE QUESTIONS THAT HAVE BEEN RAISED WITH THIS SHELBY DUIS CASE -- FIRST OF ALL, I DON'T THINK SPECIFICALLY IT'S HER FAULT. I THINK THAT THE FAULT LIES DOWN AT THE LOWER LEVEL, BUT THERE REALLY HASN'T BEEN AN ADEQUATE RESPONSE FROM HER ON THIS. I THINK WHEN YOU COUPLE THAT WITH HER CHOICE IN HOW SHE USES RESOURCES THAT WERE DIRECTED TOWARDS -- BY THE LEGISLATURE TOWARDS CASEWORKERS AND THOSE TYPES OF PERSONNEL AND SHE CHOSE TO USE THE MONEY TO HIRE DEPUTY DIRECTORS AND THOSE TYPES OF CHOICES, I THINK DEMONSTRATE BAD JUDGMENT.

Yepsen: SENATOR HAMMOND, WHAT IS YOUR REACTION TO THAT?

Hammond: WELL, I DON'T THINK ALL OF IT WAS HER CHOICES. SHE INHERITED A SYSTEM, AND I DO KNOW THAT A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO WE HAD THE CHOICE TO SPEND $85,000 TO EVALUATE THE CURRENT SYSTEM, ONE THAT I SUPPORTED AND ONE THAT I KNOW REPRESENTATIVE BODDICKER HELPED TO DESIGN, THE NEW ASSESSMENT MODEL FOR CHILD ABASE. AND THERE WAS TO BE AN ASSESSMENT: $85,000 WAS RECOMMENDED BY THE DEPARTMENT DIRECTOR; $85,000 WAS SUPPORTED BY THE CURRENT GOVERNOR. THAT WAS NOT DONE BY THE LEGISLATURE. SO THE LEGISLATURE -- AND I SAID THIS FROM THE VERY FIRST WHEN SHELBY DUIS DIED, WE NEED TO POINT AT OURSELVES, FIRST OF ALL, AND SAY WHETHER WE THINK CHILDREN ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT THING WE HAVE TO DEAL WITH.

Yepsen: ALL RIGHT, SENATOR, LET'S FOLLOW UP ON THAT. WHAT SHOULD BE DONE BY THE STATE TO PREVENT THIS FROM HAPPENING AGAIN?

Hammond: DAVID, I DON'T THINK WE CAN PREVENT IT FROM HAPPENING AGAIN. IT WILL HAPPEN AGAIN. BUT I THINK WE HAVE TO DESIGN THE BEST POSSIBLE SYSTEM AND THE BEST SUPPORT TO MINIMIZE THAT POSSIBILITY. AND I LIKE THE POLK COUNTY MODEL FOR ASSESSING THAT INCLUDES WHEN YOU GO INTO A HOME WHERE CHILD ABASE IS BELIEVED TO BE HAPPENING, YOU TAKE THE TEAM ALONG, BECAUSE EVERYBODY HAS DIFFERENT TRAINING, DIFFERENT SKILLS. AND IF THAT TEAM GOES IN TOGETHER, THEY PICK UP ON DIFFERENT THINGS. WE WILL MISS FEWER CASES. WE'RE NOT GOING TO GET THEM ALL, AND THAT'S A SAD FACT THAT I THINK WE HAVE TO FACE, BUT WE WILL PICK UP ON MORE CASES.

Yepsen: REPRESENTATIVE BODDICKER, SAME QUESTION TO YOU. WHAT SPECIFICALLY SHOULD THE STATE DO TO PREVENT THIS FROM HAPPENING AGAIN?

Boddicker: I THINK IT'S MORE OF A SOCIAL POLICY ISSUE. I THINK IF THERE'S ONE THING IN READING THAT INTERNAL REVIEW OF THE SHELBY DUIS CASE, IT POINTED OUT TO ME THAT OUR SYSTEM OF REPORTERS AND MANDATORY REPORTERS ACTUALLY WORKED PRETTY WELL IN HER CASE. AND IT CAME DOWN TO A JUDGMENT CALL OF THE CASEWORKER. THAT WAS WHERE THE BALL WAS DROPPED AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN. SO, IT'S POSSIBLE THAT IF WE ADOPT A POLK COUNTY MODEL STATEWIDE, THAT MIGHT IMPROVE. BUT IF IT STILL COMES DOWN TO THE DECISION OF A PERSON WHETHER OR NOT TO ASSEMBLE THAT TEAM AND IF THAT PERSON DROPS THE BALL, WE'RE GOING TO REPEAT THIS SITUATION AGAIN. I AGREE WITH SENATOR HAMMOND THAT WE'RE NOT GOING TO PREVENT ALL THESE CASES. BUT GETTING BACK TO THE SOCIAL POLICY ISSUE, I THINK THAT THERE CAN BE STEPS TAKEN. ONE OF THOSE IS TO IDENTIFY THE HIGHEST CATEGORIES OF ABUSE, AND THAT'S COHABITATION WITH DRUGS. I THINK WE DO NEED TO GET AT THAT ISSUE AND, POSSIBLY THROUGH THE COURTS, PUT MORE EMPHASIS ON A CUSTODIAL TRANSFER WHEN THERE'S EVIDENCE OF COHABITATION WITH DRUGS.

Yepsen: YOU MEAN A LIVE-IN BOYFRIEND –

Boddicker: OR GIRLFRIEND.

Yepsen: OR SOMEONE USING DRUGS.

Boddicker: YUP. AND IF THE COURTS MAKE A DECISION OF CHANGE OF CUSTODY BASED ON THAT MORE OFTEN, PEOPLE MIGHT BE LESS LIKELY TO COHABITATE OR POSSIBLY PURSUE MARRIAGE MORE AGGRESSIVELY WHICH, WHEN YOU ADD MARRIAGE TO THE MIX, THE NUMBERS OF ABUSE DROPPED.

Borg: SENATOR HAMMOND, I WONDER IF YOU COULD BE MORE SPECIFIC. YOU'VE SAID WE NEED TO POINT AT OURSELVES. NOW, TWO PEOPLE HAVE BEEN EXONERATED IN SHELBY DUIS'S DEATH. BUT WHO REALLY IS ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE OVERALL SITUATION? STATE IS A BIG WORD. IF YOU JUST USE STATE, YOU CAN GO ALL THE WAY DOWN THE LINE, NOT SPECIFICALLY. WHO IS RESPONSIBLE?

Hammond: I THOUGHT I SAID LEGISLATURE AND THAT'S REALLY WHAT I MEANT. WHEN THE LEGISLATURE MAKES DECISIONS ABOUT HOW TO CUT UP THAT BUDGET PIE, AND WHAT SIZE PIECE WILL GO FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES -- AND I KNOW MONEY ISN'T THE ONLY ANSWER, BUT YEAR AFTER YEAR AFTER YEAR WE HAVE CUT THAT BUDGET IN WAYS THAT MEAN THAT WE HAVEN'T NECESSARILY HAD THE CHILD ABUSE INVESTIGATORS THAT WE'VE WANTED. CHILD WELFARE LEAGUE OF AMERICA SAYS WE SHOULD HAVE ONE SUPERVISOR FOR EVERY FIVE INVESTIGATORS.

Borg: NOW, REPRESENTATIVE BODDICKER HAS JUST SAID THERE WAS A CASEWORKER DIRECTLY LOOKING AT THIS CASE WHO FAILED TO FOLLOW UP. NOW, WHAT COULD BE DONE DIFFERENTLY THERE, BECAUSE THERE WAS SOMEBODY DIRECTLY INVOLVED?

Hammond: WELL, TO EXPLAIN WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT, THE SUPERVISOR THAT SUPERVISED THAT DIRECT WORKER HAD 10 PEOPLE TO SUPERVISE. CHILD WELFARE LEAGUE SAYS FIVE IS A BETTER RATIO. THOSE KINDS OF THINGS THAT ARE SUBTLE AND THAT I DON'T THINK THE PUBLIC NECESSARILY GETS EXCITED ABOUT, BUT THEY DO MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

Borg: REPRESENTATIVE BODDICKER, WHO IS ACCOUNTABLE?

Boddicker: WELL, THAT'S A GOOD QUESTION. THERE ARE SOME OF THOSE ANSWERS THAT WE CAN'T GET BECAUSE I HAVEN'T BEEN APPOINTED TO LOOK AT WHAT'S BLACKED OUT IN THAT REPORT. BUT WE -- IN FACT, WHEN WE WENT TO THE ASSESSMENT SYSTEM, WE APPROPRIATED OVER A HALF MILLION DOLLARS TO HIRE 20 MORE FTEs TO LIGHTEN THE CASELOAD. WE KNEW THE ASSESSMENT-BASED APPROACH WAS GOING TO TAKE MORE FIELD STAFF. BUT THE -- I DON'T KNOW FOR SURE WHETHER THOSE 20 POSITIONS HAVE BEEN FILLED, BUT WE HAVE, OVER THE LAST COUPLE YEARS, GIVEN THE DEPARTMENT MORE MONEY FOR MORE PEOPLE, AND THE DIRECTOR HAS CHOSEN TO HIRE DEPUTY DIRECTORS AND COMMUNICATIONS PEOPLE WITH THAT MONEY AT VERY HIGH SALARIES. AND WHEN YOU ADD TO THAT THE CONSULTING SHENANIGANS THAT ARE GOING ON, I THINK THAT WE HAVE A DIRECTOR WHO HERSELF DOESN'T PRIORITIZE THIS ISSUE. NOW, I THINK ESPECIALLY THE HOUSE REPUBLICANS HAVE BEEN VERY SENSITIVE TO THIS ISSUE. DAVE HEATON PROPOSED A STUDY TO TRY TO DETERMINE WHAT CASELOADS WERE APPROPRIATE FOR OUR STAFF SO THAT WE COULD GET AT THAT PROBLEM, AND DEMOCRATS ON THE COMMITTEE FOUGHT THAT, AND HE BACKED OFF.

Yepsen: WHAT ABOUT THAT, SENATOR? YOU'VE GOT 5,800 PEOPLE WHO WORK FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES. ISN'T THIS A HIGH ENOUGH PRIORITY THAT SOME OF THOSE PEOPLE CAN BE REASSIGNED TO WORK AS SUPERVISORS OR AS CHILD PROTECTIVE WORKERS? WHERE IS THE PRIORITY?

Hammond: WELL, YOU WANT TO TAKE THEM OUT OF GLENWOOD WHERE THEY'RE WORKING WITH MENTALLY RETARDED INDIVIDUALS, OR DO YOU WANT TO TAKE THEM OUT OF CHILD CARE.

Yepsen: HOW ABOUT REASSIGNING SOME OF THE WORKERS WHO ARE NO LONGER NEEDED BECAUSE WELFARE ROLLS HAVE DROPPED DRAMATICALLY IN THIS STATE IN THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS?

Hammond: THEY HAVE. THEY'VE DROPPED 48 PERCENT SINCE DIRECTOR RASMUSSEN CAME ON BOARD. SHE'S DOING ALL RIGHT THERE. WELL, WE HAVE REDUCED AT TIMES WE HAVE REDUCED -- YOU REMEMBER ONE YEAR WE REDUCED THE DEPARTMENT'S FTEs BY OVER 600. THAT WAS UNDER TERRY BRANSTAD. WE HAVE NEVER GOTTEN BACK UP TO THAT LEVEL.

Yepsen: SO WHAT YOU'RE SAYING IS THAT OUT OF 5,800 PEOPLE WHO WORK FOR THAT AGENCY, WE CAN'T REASSIGN ANY OF THOSE PEOPLE TO –

Hammond: NO, I CERTAINLY WOULDN'T SAY THAT. I'M NOT IN THE BUSINESS OF MICROMANAGING. I DO THINK THAT -- I PRESUME THEY DO THEIR BEST TO TRY TO PUT PEOPLE IN THE PLACES THEY'RE MOST NEEDED. LET ME SAY ONE THING, THOUGH, AND THAT IS THAT DIRECTOR RASMUSSEN DID NOT HIRE A CONSULTANT AT THE EXPENSE OF CHILD ABUSE INVESTIGATORS. WE HAD THOSE 20 CHILD ABUSE INVESTIGATORS ON BOARD, AND SHE CAN'T DO THAT KIND OF SHIFTING AROUND WILLLY-NILLY IN HER BUDGET.

Henderson: REPRESENTATIVE BODDICKER, OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS YOU'VE CRITICIZED THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES FOR BEING TOO QUICK TO MOVE IN AND TAKE KIDS OUT OF THE HOME AND BEING TOO QUICK TO PLACE PEOPLE ON THE CHILD ABUSE REGISTRY. YOU'VE HAD SOME LEGISLATION IN THAT REGARD. WHAT RESPONSIBILITY DO YOU AND YOUR SUPPORTERS IN THAT EFFORT BEAR FOR CREATING AN ATMOSPHERE IN THE DEPARTMENT IN WHICH THEY'RE AFRAID TO REMOVE CHILDREN FROM THE HOME?

Boddicker: WELL, I DON'T THINK THAT THE DEPARTMENT HAS AN ATMOSPHERE WHERE THEY'RE AFRAID TO MOVE CHILDREN, BECAUSE THEY'RE STILL DOING IT. MY CRITICISM OF THE DEPARTMENT HAS BEEN UNDER BOTH ADMINISTRATIONS. SO I MAY BE ACCUSED OF BEING PARTISAN HERE, BUT THAT'S NOT THE CASE. I WANT THE DEPARTMENT TO WORK. AND THE SHELBY DUIS CASE EXHIBITS A BREAKDOWN, AND THAT BREAKDOWN HAPPENS AT THE OTHER END OF THE SPECTRUM TOO.

Henderson: YOU MENTIONED THAT THERE WAS A SOCIAL WORKER BREAKDOWN, BUT WASN'T THERE ALSO A BREAKDOWN IN TERMS OF A DOCTOR WHO LOOKED AT THAT CHILD THE DAY BEFORE?

Boddicker: YES, THERE SURE WAS. THERE ABSOLUTELY WAS. THERE WAS ALSO A BREAKDOWN NOT FROM THE ASPECT OF THE REPORTERS, THE MANDATORY REPORTERS REPORTING, BUT THERE WAS A CONSENSUS IN THE INTERNAL REVIEW THAT SAID OUR TRAINING AS MANDATORY REPORTERS ISN'T ADEQUATE. THAT'S ANOTHER ISSUE THAT WILL PROBABLY BE COMING UP IS A CONTRACT FOR OUR MANDATORY REPORTER TRAINING AND THE MONEY WE'RE PUTTING TOWARDS THAT AND HOW THAT CAN POSSIBLY BE BETTER SPENT.

Yepsen: WELL, MR. BODDICKER, HOW DO YOU BALANCE THIS? YOU'VE GOT TO BALANCE PARENTAL RIGHTS AGAINST PROTECTING THE CHILD. IT'S A TOUGH CALL. DON'T YOU BEAR SOME RESPONSIBILITY HERE FOR NOT MAKING IT EASIER FOR SOCIAL WORKERS TO GO IN AND GRAB KIDS? TRAGIC AS THAT IS TO HAVE THE STATE GO IN AND TAKE A CHILD OUT OF THE HOME, WE'VE JUST DISCOVERED HERE THAT THE CONSEQUENCES OF NOT DOING THAT ARE ARGUABLY FAR WORSE THAN THE CONSEQUENCES OF WRONGFULLY DOING THAT. AT LEAST YOU'VE GOT A KID WHO'S STILL ALIVE.

Boddicker: FIRST OF ALL, DAVID, WE DIDN'T DO ANYTHING WITH THE LAWS PASSED AFTER THE JONATHAN -- THEY CALL IT THE JONATHAN LAW.

Reporters: JONATHAN WALLER.

Boddicker: WE DIDN'T TOUCH THAT LAW IN OUR REFORMS BECAUSE WE RECOGNIZE AND THE PEOPLE IN THIS STATE RECOGNIZE THAT IF YOU HAVE A CHILD THAT IS IN DANGER LIKE SHELBY DUIS WAS THAT WE NEED TO GET THAT CHILD OUT OF THAT HOME AND WE NEED TO DO IT QUICK. THAT WAS, AGAIN, CASEWORKER POOR JUDGMENT AND THE FAILURE OF THE MEDICAL SYSTEM.

Yepsen: SENATOR, WHAT ABOUT THIS? HOW DO YOU BALANCE ALL THIS?

Hammond: WELL, THAT'S A TOUGH ONE AND THAT'S WHY I THINK WE NEED MUCH MORE TRAINING AND WHERE THE TEAMS WOULD BE HELPFUL, BECAUSE IF YOU HAVE MORE THAN ONE OPINION THERE SAYING, YOU KNOW, "THIS IS A CRISIS; THIS IS ONE THAT REALLY NEEDS TO BE TAKEN OUT IMMEDIATELY." WE DO WANT TO PRESERVE FAMILIES AND WE WANT TO STRENGTHEN FAMILIES, AND SO THE ASSESSMENT MODEL IN CHILD ABUSE IS DESIGNED TO DO THAT. I THINK THAT'S A GOOD GOAL.

Borg: REPRESENTATIVE BODDICKER, JUST THIS PAST WEEK -- WE'VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT SHELBY DUIS HERE BACK IN JANUARY, BUT JUST THIS PAST WEEK THERE WAS ANOTHER CASE IN SOUTHEAST IOWA -- I BELIEVE IT'S OSKALOOSA IF I'M RIGHT -- FRANK CHARBONEAU, JR. -- A CHILD WHO IS NOW HOSPITALIZED, THE CHILD IN A DES MOINES HOSPITAL, SUSPECTED CHILD ABUSE THERE. THE POINT OF MY QUESTION IS, HERE'S ANOTHER INSTANCE. CAN CHILDREN OF IOWA AFFORD TO WAIT UNTIL THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY RECONVENES TO EXAMINE WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE?

Boddicker: WELL, I DON'T KNOW THE SPECIFICS OF THAT CASE. BUT THERE HAS TO BE A REPORT, THERE HAS TO BE AN INVESTIGATION, AND THAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN. THAT HAS TO HAPPEN BY LAW. AND SO SOMEBODY HAS TO MAKE THAT JUDGMENT CALL, IS THAT CHILD IN IMMINENT DANGER. AND IF THE CHILD IS IN IMMINENT DANGER, THEN THEY HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO AT LEAST TEMPORARILY REMOVE THAT CHILD UNTIL THERE CAN BE OTHER PEOPLE BROUGHT IN TO ASSIST IN THE DECISION OF WHETHER THAT REMOVAL IS MORE PERMANENT OR NOT. SO THAT STUFF IS IN PLACE.

Borg: YOU'VE ALREADY SAID THESE ARE GOING TO OCCUR, WE CAN'T PREVENT THEM ALL. IS THAT YOUR ANSWER TO THIS TOO, THAT NOTHING NEEDS TO BE DONE IN THE INTERIM BEFORE THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY MEETS TO MAKE SOME CHANGES?

Hammond: OH, THAT WILL BE ASSESSED VERY CAREFULLY SO THAT IF THERE ARE ANY CHANGES THAT NEED TO BE MADE IN THE LAW, THEY'LL BE READY TO GO IN JANUARY. I KNOW THAT'S HAPPENING. THEY ARE LOOKING AT THIS.

Henderson: LET'S TALK ABOUT SOME OF THE SPECIFICS THAT ARE BEING DISCUSSED. REPRESENTATIVE BODDICKER JUST SUGGESTED THAT WOMEN WHO COHABITATE WITH POTENTIAL VIOLENT PARAMOUR, BOYFRIEND, WHO HAS A SUBSTANCE ABUSE PROBLEM, THE CHILDREN SHOULD BE YANKED OUT OF THE HOME MORE EASILY IN THOSE CASES. DO YOU THINK THAT'S A GOOD IDEA?

Hammond: WELL, I THINK IT WOULD BE APPROPRIATE IN CERTAIN CASES. I THINK THAT HAS TO BE DONE CAREFULLY. I THINK WE NEED TO HAVE A LOT MORE SUBSTANCE ABUSE PROGRAMS. WE HAVE A LOT OF PEOPLE THAT HAVE THAT PROBLEM THAT AREN'T BEING TREATED BECAUSE OF OUR SHORTFALL IN THAT AREA. THAT WOULD BE ONE THING, AND I DO AGREE WITH DAN ON THAT, THAT THAT'S APPROPRIATE. I THINK WE NEED TO DO MUCH MORE CAREFUL TRAINING, A LOT MORE TRAINING, NOT ONLY OF THE MANDATORY REPORTERS BUT OF THE TEAMS THAT ARE GOING IN OR THE INDIVIDUALS THAT ARE GOING IN AND HOW TO REALLY PICK UP ON THE POTENTIALLY TERRIBLY DANGEROUS SITUATIONS.

Yepsen: SENATOR, DO WE NEED TO CHANGE THE LEGAL DEFINITION OF ABUSE?

Hammond: WELL, I DON'T KNOW EXACTLY WHAT THAT WOULD DO.

Yepsen: TO MAKE IT EASIER FOR THE STATE TO GO IN AND TAKE A CHILD OUT OF A HAZARDOUS SITUATION. WE'RE GETTING HUNG UP ON ALL THESE LEGAL DEFINITIONS HERE. WHAT DOES IT TAKE, FOR EXAMPLE, FOR A MANDATORY REPORTER TO UNDERSTAND THAT BRUISES AND BROKEN WRISTS AND BROKEN BONES ARE, IN FACT, A FORM OF ABUSE.

Hammond: WELL, I THINK WHAT WE NEED TO IS EDUCATE THE PUBLIC THAT SOMETIMES PEOPLE WHO ARE ACCUSED OF ABUSE AREN'T ABUSIVE, BECAUSE YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE KIDS WHO FALL A LOT. YOU ALWAYS HEAR THAT, "THEY FELL DOWN THE STAIRS, THEY FELL OUT OF THEIR CRIB," AND SOMETIMES THAT'S TRUE. AND SO WE NEED TO BE ABLE TO ACT ON THOSE SITUATIONS WITH THE CHILD IMMEDIATELY KNOWING THAT THIS MAY NOT BE AN ABUSE SITUATION ULTIMATELY.

Yepsen: MR. BODDICKER, DO WE NEED TO CHANGE THE LEGAL DEFINITION OF ABUSE?

Boddicker: I DON'T THINK SO. ALL OF THOSE INDICATORS ARE IN THE LAW. THEY ARE IN THE LAW. WHERE -- WHAT PERPLEXED ME IN READING THAT INTERNAL REVIEW WAS THE ALLEGATION AND THE EVIDENCE AND THEN WHEN THE PERSON WAS -- WHEN HEIDI WATKINS WOULD TAKE SHELBY TO THE DOCTOR AND THEN THE BALL GOT DROPPED THERE, I DON'T UNDERSTAND IT.

Yepsen: AND DO WE NEED TO OPEN UP RECORDS HERE SO THAT POLICYMAKERS LIKE YOURSELF CAN SEE WHAT'S GOING ON, SO THAT NEWS PEOPLE CAN MONITOR THE ACTIVITIES OF GOVERNMENTAL AGENCIES, SO THAT CITIZENS CAN SEE FOR THEMSELVES WHAT IS GOING ON WITH THESE CASES?

Boddicker: WELL, WE DID THAT BETTER. I MEAN, WE MADE A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION THIS LAST SESSION. I GOT A COPY, PROBABLY THE SAME ONE YOU GUYS DID WITH -- YOU KNOW, THERE WAS WHOLE PAGES OF THE CASEWORKERS' TESTIMONY BLACKED-OUT. YOU TURN ONE OR TWO PAGES AND –

Yepsen: YEAH, REAL OPEN, WASN'T IT?

Boddicker: THAT'S TRUE. NOW, IF THE SPEAKER APPOINTED ME, I COULD GO READ THAT WHERE IT WASN'T BLACKED OUT. I'VE OFFERED TO DO THAT AND HE'S PONDERING IT, BUT AT THIS POINT IN TIME, I DON'T REALLY KNOW IF THAT'S NECESSARY BECAUSE THROUGH JUST READING THE BLACKED-OUT REPORT, I WAS ABLE TO, I THINK, ADEQUATELY ASSESS THE PROBLEM IN THIS CASE. AND IT WAS A BREAKDOWN OF THE MEDICAL COMMUNITY AND THE CASEWORKERS' POOR DECISIONS AND THEIR LACK OF COMMUNICATION.

Yepsen: SENATOR, SAME QUESTION. DO WE NEED MORE OPENNESS?

Hammond: I THINK WE HAVE TO HAVE, AGAIN, ONE OF THOSE BALANCES. WE HAVE TO HAVE A BALANCE BETWEEN THE RIGHTS OF PRIVACY OF THE INDIVIDUAL WHO IS CHARGED AND THE NEED OF THE PUBLIC TO REQUIRE ACCOUNTABILITY IN GOVERNMENT AND THAT PRIVACY IS AN IMPORTANT ISSUE TOO. I DON'T KNOW WHETHER YOU COULD GET ADDITIONAL INFORMATION BY READING THE BLACKED-OUT PORTIONS THAT WOULD GIVE YOU A DIFFERENT CONCLUSION THAN THE ONE THAT DAN JUST MENTIONED. WE KNOW WHERE THE FINGER OF BLAME NEEDS TO BE POINTED, BASICALLY, IN THAT CASE.

Boddicker: I HAVE TO DISAGREE WITH THE SENATOR A LITTLE BIT. THIS IS A SERIOUS CRIME THAT'S BEEN COMMITTED AND POSSIBLY BY A PERSON WHO'S NOT RELATED TO THAT CHILD IN THIS CASE OF SHELBY DUIS WHERE THERE WAS THE LIVE-IN BOYFRIEND. AND A LOT OF THAT INFORMATION, YOU HAVE TO WALK A TIGHTROPE BECAUSE OF THE THREAT IT POSES TO PROSECUTING THAT CASE. IF YOU GET TOO MUCH OF THAT INFORMATION OUT, YOU MAY PREJUDICE THE COURT OR THE JURY IN THAT CASE, SO YOU HAVE TO BE CAREFUL. BUT I DO THINK THAT IT OUGHT TO BE TREATED MUCH MORE LIKE A CRIMINAL CASE WHERE A LOT OF THAT INFORMATION IS NOT CONFIDENTIAL.

Henderson: WELL, LET'S TALK ABOUT THE CRIMINAL CASE. ONE OF THE LASTING IMPRESSIONS OF THIS SHELBY DUIS CASE IS THAT NO ONE IS BEING HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE CHILD'S MURDER. THERE HAVE BEEN SOME WHO HAVE SUGGESTED THE COUNTY PROSECUTORS NEED ADDITIONAL HELP IN PROSECUTING THESE KINDS OF CASES. WILL THE LEGISLATURE ACT, SENATOR HAMMOND?

Hammond: I DON'T KNOW WHAT THE LEGISLATURE WILL DO ABOUT THAT. IT MAY, IN FACT, BE A LEGITIMATE PROPOSAL TO HAVE MORE ASSISTANCE IN THOSE HIGH PROFILE CASES LIKE THAT FROM THE ATTORNEY GENERAL.

Boddicker: WE'RE READY AND I HAVE HAD THIS -- BASICALLY THIS ATTITUDE FOR SEVERAL YEARS NOW. THIS, LIKE ADOPTION, WE'RE OPEN TO MAKING THE SYSTEM BETTER, AND WE'LL WILLINGLY AND GLADLY ASSEMBLE ALL THE LEGISLATORS WHO WANT TO BE A PART OF IT, ALL OF THE AFFECTED GROUPS, THE DEPARTMENT, ANYBODY THAT WANTS TO WORK ON THIS WHERE WE CAN COME, YOU KNOW, WORK FOR CONSENSUS AND COME TO AN AGREEMENT AND IMPROVE THE SYSTEM. IT'S CONFUSING TO ME TOO. AND I THINK ONE OF THE THINGS THAT STRUCK ME THE MOST WAS THE JURORS WHO TALKED ABOUT THE INSTRUCTIONS OF THE JUDGE IN THAT CASE. AND I THINK THAT PLAYED A BIG PART OF IT, BECAUSE I GOT THE SENSE THAT THE JURORS FELT THAT THEY SHOULD HAVE BEEN ABLE TO CONVICT.

Yepsen: SO DO YOU THINK THE LAW NEEDS TO BE CHANGED SO THE JUDGES HAVE MORE SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS? ARE WE GETTING INTO THAT?

Boddicker: I HAVEN'T LOOKED INTO THAT ENOUGH TO REALLY COMMENT, DAVID, BECAUSE THE LEGISLATURE, THERE'S A FINE LINE WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT SEPARATION OF POWERS ABOUT WHAT WE'RE GOING TO BE ABLE TO TELL A JUDGE TO DO. AND I'D HAVE TO LOOK INTO THAT A LITTLE BIT.

Yepsen: MR. BODDICKER, ANOTHER ISSUE THAT'S COME UP HERE TODAY IS BETTER SUBSTANCE ABUSE PROGRAMS. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THAT? WHAT, IF ANYTHING, SHOULD BE DONE ABOUT THAT?

Boddicker: WELL, I THINK IT'S EASIER AND QUICKER. WE CAN DO SOMETHING MORE IMMEDIATE THAN THAT. THAT'S SOMETHING THAT'S GOING TO HAVE TO GO THROUGH THE LEGISLATOR'S PROCESS AND --

Yepsen: YEAH, BUT SHOULD THERE BE MORE MONEY SPENT ON SUBSTANCE ABUSE? THAT'S THE QUESTION.

Boddicker: WELL, I DON'T KNOW. I DON'T THINK IS HAS THAT GREAT OF SUCCESS. IT'S JUST LIKE AN ALCOHOLIC HAS TO BOTTOM OUT AND DECIDE THEMSELVES IF THEY WANT TO STOP DRINKING.

Yepsen: SIR, WHEN WE HAVE PEOPLE WHO WANT TREATMENT WHO CAN'T TREATMENT BECAUSE THERE AREN'T ENOUGH OPENINGS IN PROGRAMS, THAT SUGGESTS THAT, PERHAPS, THERE IS A NEED FOR MORE RESOURCES.

Boddicker: AND I AGREE WITH THAT. I CAN'T DISAGREE WITH THAT. BUT WHAT I THINK WE COULD DO IMMEDIATELY IS WE COULD PASS A SIMPLE LAW THAT TELLS THE COURT THAT WHEN THERE'S EVIDENCE OF COHABITATION, WHETHER IT'S A LIVE-IN BOYFRIEND OR A LIVE-IN GIRLFRIEND, THAT THAT IS GROUNDS FOR AN IMMEDIATE CUSTODY CHANGE.

Yepsen: BUT THAT'S A DIFFERENT ISSUE THAN THE SUBSTANCE ABUSE QUESTION. SENATOR HAMMOND, HOW MUCH -- YOU'VE TALKED ABOUT SUBSTANCE ABUSE HERE. HOW MUCH MORE DO WE NEED TO SPEND ON THOSE PROGRAMS?

Hammond: I CAN'T TELL YOU HOW MUCH MORE. I AGREE WITH DAN THAT THEY'RE NOT VERY SUCCESSFUL, ABOUT 30 TO 50 PERCENT SUCCESSFUL IN A GOOD PROGRAM. BUT I THINK WE PROBABLY NEED TO DO MUCH MORE INPATIENT BECAUSE IT IS MORE SUCCESSFUL THAN THE OUTPATIENT. IT'S MORE EXPENSIVE SO IT'S PROBABLY A LOT OF BUCKS WE'RE TALKING ABOUT HERE.

Henderson: GOVERNOR VILSACK SUGGESTED, LAST WEEK, THAT IT WAS TIME TO HIRE BOTH MORE CASEWORKERS AND SUPERVISORS OF THOSE CASEWORKERS IN CHILD ABUSE INVESTIGATION CASES. WHY HIRE MORE SUPERVISORS? WHY NOT SPEND THAT MONEY TRAINING THE ON-LINE PEOPLE?

Boddicker: WELL, THAT'S A GOOD QUESTION BECAUSE -- AND I'M GUESSING HERE BUT I BELIEVE I HEARD SOMEWHERE WHERE THE CASEWORKER IN THE SHELBY DUIS CASE WAS AN ELEVEN-YEAR VETERAN. THAT'S A LOT OF EXPERIENCE. SO IF TRAINING OF CASEWORKERS IS THE PROBLEM, THAT MAY BE WHERE WE NEED TO GO. WE PROBABLY SHOULD GO AHEAD AND DO THE STUDY OF THE BEST CASELOAD PER CASEWORKER THAT WE CAN DO, BUT WE ALSO KNOW THAT REPORTED CASES OF ABUSE AND INVESTIGATIONS ARE GOING DOWN.

Borg: SENATOR HAMMOND, A QUICK CHANGE OF TOPIC HERE BUT STILL RELATED TO DHS. THERE WAS A REPORT THIS WEEK AND CONFIRMED BY DHS THEY'RE RUNNING OUT OF CHILD CARE SUBSIDIZATION FUNDS FOR LOW-INCOME FAMILIES. AND FOR THOSE FAMILIES THIS, OF COURSE, IS A CRISIS BECAUSE THE JOBS OUT OF THE HOME PUT FOOD ON THE TABLE. CAN THE LEGISLATURE ACT TO SUBSIDIZE THESE FUNDS?

Hammond: IT'S A SERIOUS, SERIOUS PROBLEM AND I PREDICTED DURING THE DEBATE ON THE APPROPRIATIONS BILL THAT WE WERE SHORTING CHILD CARE. WE'RE SHORTING MUCH MORE THAN I THOUGHT. I SAID THREE MILLION. IT'S A WHOLE LOT MORE THAN THREE MILLION. THIS IS A GOOD SIGN IN TERMS OF WELFARE RECIPIENTS GOING TO WORK.

Borg: BUT WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE AND CAN IT BE DONE?

Hammond: WELL, IF WE HAVE BALANCES THAT ARE AVAILABLE FOR THAT, WE CAN HAVE A SUPPLEMENTAL IN JANUARY. I DON'T KNOW WHETHER WE'RE GOING TO HAVE THAT KIND OF BALANCE.

Borg: REPRESENTATIVE BODDICKER?

Boddicker: I THINK THAT'S PROBABLY WHAT WE'LL PURSUE.

Borg: ALL RIGHT. KAY?

Henderson: REPRESENTATIVE BODDICKER, YOU'VE CALLED THEM CONSULTANT SHENANIGANS IN THE DHS. WHAT WILL THE LEGISLATURE DO TO RETRIEVE THAT MONEY?

Boddicker: THAT'S A GOOD QUESTION BECAUSE IF WE'RE GOING TO BE SUCCESSFUL, WE HAVE TO HAVE THE COOPERATION OF THE GOVERNOR. WHETHER HE'LL DEFEND THIS OR WHETHER HE'LL GET ON BOARD IS QUESTIONABLE. BUT I THINK WE NEED TO EXPOSE IT, CONTINUE TO EXPOSE IT TO THE VOTERS AND THE TAXPAYERS OF THE STATE.

Henderson: SENATOR HAMMOND?

Hammond: WELL, I THINK IT'S INTERESTING THAT THE STATE AUDITOR GOT INVOLVED IN A $22,000 CONTRACT. SOME TIME AGO WE HAD A $50-MILLION CONTRACT INVOLVING MERIT, AND IT WAS BADLY WRITTEN. $50 MILLION! NO QUESTIONS WERE EVER ASKED, AS FAR AS I KNOW, BY THE STATE AUDITOR. SO I DON'T KNOW IF THIS IS POLITICS OR WHAT IT IS. BUT I'VE PURSUED THIS A LITTLE BIT AFTER READING THAT AUDIT, BECAUSE I WAS CONCERNED ABOUT THE FIRST AUDIT. I HAVEN'T SEEN THE SECOND ONE, THE $22,000 ONE YET. AND I WAS CONCERNED ABOUT IT AND I CHECKED -- HAD TO DO A LITTLE RUNNING AROUND CHECKING. THE GOVERNOR HAS A TASK FORCE THAT'S WORKING ON DEVELOPING A MANUAL OF PROCEDURES FOR WRITING CONTRACTS. I THINK THAT'S GOOD. AND IT'S IN THE WORKS. THAT'S WHAT WE NEED TO DO WITH THAT.

Borg: I'M SORRY THAT I HAVE TO INTERRUPT, SENATOR HAMMOND. THANK YOU FOR BEING WITH US TODAY. REPRESENTATIVE BODDICKER, THANK YOU. ON OUR NEXT EDITION OF IOWA PRESS, OUR FOCUS SHIFTS TO THE CLASSROOM AND ANOTHER ISSUE HIGH ON THE LEGISLATIVE AGENDA. THE ISSUE... TEACHER PAY. JOINING US MARVIN POMERANTZ AND JOHN FORSYTH, BOTH OF WHOM HAVE HEADED RECENT COMMISSION STUDIES ON TEACHER SALARIES. THAT'S NEXT SUNDAY AT NOON AND 7:00 HERE ON STATEWIDE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION. A CLOSING REMINDER... YOU CAN HOOK UP WITH US NOW ON THE WORLDWIDE WEB AVAILABLE AT THE ADDRESS THAT'S ON YOUR SCREEN RIGHT NOW, WWW.IOWAPRESS.IPTV.ORG. THAT'S IT FOR THIS WEEK'S EDITION OF IOWA PRESS. I HOPE YOU'LL WATCH NEXT SUNDAY AT NOON AND 7:00. UNTIL THEN, I'M DEAN BORG. THANKS FOR JOINING US TODAY.

FUNDING FOR IOWA PRESS HAS BEEN PROVIDED BY FRIENDS OF IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION. BY THE IOWA BANKERS ASSOCIATION... FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS, AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS. AND BY THE ASSOCIATION OF BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY... THE VOICE OF IOWA BUSINESS, REPRESENTING THE INTERESTS OF OVER 1,500 BUSINESSES EMPLOYING 300,000 IOWANS.