The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Local News

February 18, 2013

Residents: Help the children

Advocates speak to legislators about ways to protect children and improve their daily lives

CLINTON — For former Clinton foster mother Merlyn Law, the effects abuse and the current Iowa adoption system can have on a child are far too familiar.

Among the 25 teens Law and her husband fostered throughout the years was a young girl who suffered years of abuse, being separated from her birth mother and sister. Once the young girl came into Law’s home, she told her foster mother that she had began cutting herself and was sent to a program where she would receive help for her self-injuring. The abuse and moves from home to home eventually overwhelmed the teenager and she took her own life.

Abby's story is just one tearful account of the children Law has seen move in and out of her home with what she saw as little regard from the agency determining their fate.  

“Life could have been different because we loved them,” Law said. “They weren't just a body. We fell in love with the children that came into our home.”

Law was one of more than 20 community members and professionals who spoke to local legislators on Saturday at the First United Methodist Church. Rep. Mary Wolfe, D-Clinton, Sen. Rita Hart, D-Wheatland and Sen. Pam Jochum, D-Dubuque, attended a roundtable hosted by the Rainbird Foundation to discuss children's issues with people who work to improve children's lives daily.

“We relate to child abuse as if it is not a significant problem. This lack of acknowledgement results in an ignorance and inactivity,” Rainbird Foundation founder Hanna Roth said. “Thousands of children slip through the cracks in our system because our system was not designed to handle the stress of the numbers that we're getting and were not funded appropriately enough to get along.”

Participants cited issues with the Department of Human Services and the negative effects those problems have on children. For more than two hours the group discussed the perceived flaws in the system that they said often does not serve those it is intended to serve: the children.

“We must try to make children our number one priority,” local Rainbird Director Shirley Darsidan said.

Wolfe speculated that the low pay and large workloads given to social workers who handle cases at the DHS level could play into the problem.

One problem that became apparent during the roundtable was parents’ inability to see their children who are being housed and treated in other counties.  

Along with the work to ease transportation for parents, Iowa legislators are also working on a system that will increase the mental health care children receive.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Dutch Days grand marshals Fulton couple honored as grand marshals

    Bob and Trudy Feldt have been dedicated to the city of Fulton for decades. Whether it be Trudy's 27-year commitment to teaching the children of the community at the River Bend School District, Bob's 33-year career with the Fulton-born c

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fire alarm evacuation at Eagle Heights

    Students of Eagle Heights Elementary School were evacuated Thursday afternoon after staff smelled something being emitted in the first-grade hallway and main office areas.

    According to a press release from the Clinton Community School District, staff noticed the smell at approximately 1:10 p.m. It was then determined the fire department should be notified, and the fire alarm was pulled. The building was evacuated quickly and the Clinton Fire Department responded immediately.

    April 17, 2014

  • JUST IN: McColley found not guilty of sex abuse

    A Clinton County jury today found Russell McColley, 39, not guilty of second-degree sexual abuse.

    McColley was accused of abusing a 3-year-old girl on July 29, 2013. If convicted of the class B felony, he could have faced as much as 25 years in prison.

    April 17, 2014

  • Court denies man's appeal in robbery CLINTON -- The Iowa Court of Appeals has upheld a conviction of a man who robbed a Clinton pawn shop in 2012. Darrell L. Thomas recently appealed his first-degree robbery conviction to the Iowa Court of Appeals. The court released its decision Wednes

    April 17, 2014

  • CCDA will match funds to secure van

    CLINTON -- One local non-profit organization soon will benefit from a donation from the Clinton County Development Association but it's not their typical form of grant giving. During a meeting Wednesday, CCDA members discussed the possibility of matc

    April 17, 2014

  • Jury deliberating in sex abuse case CLINTON -- Jurors were set to return to court this morning to continue deliberating on the trial of a man accused of sexually abusing a 3-year-old girl. The jury deliberated for more than two hours on the Russell McColley case Wednesday afternoon, be

    April 17, 2014

  • City considers upsizing storm sewer capacity CAMANCHE -- Residential development is a key component to the fortitude of Camanche, according to city leaders so they are taking the steps necessary to keep it an appealing location for future investors. To do so, those leaders are looking to up siz

    April 16, 2014

  • Schools will continue sports-sharing agreements CLINTON -- Students attending Camanche, Central DeWitt, Northeast and Prince of Peace schools still will be able to participate in the athletic programs offered in the Clinton School District. At a meeting Monday, Clinton School Board members approve

    April 16, 2014

  • Sex abuse trial continues CLINTON -- Assistant County Attorney Ross Barlow began his case Tuesday against a man charged with sexual abuse of a 3-year-old girl. Russell McColley, 39, is charged with second-degree sexual abuse, a class B felony carrying as much as 25 years in

    April 16, 2014

  • Cattail Slough closed due to high water FULTON, Ill. -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Mississippi River Project announces that Cattail Slough recreation area south of Fulton has been closed due to high water levels. The recreation area will remain closed until it has dried out sufficie

    April 16, 2014

Facebook
Clinton
Camanche
Fulton
Clinton Herald photos


Browse, buy and submit pictures with our photo site.