Culver: “too early to know” whether DHS erred on child abuse case

A baby is in critical condition in a Des Moines hospital. The child suffered a broken arm last month.  Last week, the baby suffered head trauma and broken ribs, according to doctors. The 20-year-old mother and 20-year-old father are charged with "multiple" counts of child endangerment.  The 20-year-old father is the son of Jon Neiderbach, a former Des Moines School Board member who is also an employee of the Iowa Department of Human Services, working as a financial analyst.  The baby and its two, 20-year-old parents, were living in Neiderbach's home.

A D.H.S. investigation was launched last month after the child suffered the broken arm, but the child was not removed from the home.  Today, during a news conference in his office on another topic, Governor Chet Culver was asked about the case.

KCCI-TV's Emily Price"Your DHS director is looking into what happened to Ethan Neiderbach.  I'm curious if you, yourself, are looking into it and are at all concerned by what has happened."

Culver: "I'm extremely concerned about the allegations and what has happened and my thoughts and prayers go out to this child, in particular. We are going to get to the bottom of this and we will use every resource in state govt, including the Division of Criminal Investigation in the Department of Public Safety to get to the bottom of this and to hold those individuals accountable for this horrific abuse."

Price:  "So the DCI is investigating this?"

Culver:   "We are doing a full and complete investigation and we will have more to say when I am permitted to share details."

Price:  "Does it appear at all that DHS did something wrong?"

Culver:  "It's too early to know. We're putting everything together, getting the facts on the table. I've had a number of discussions with indivuduals at different agencies and within the I-GOV office about the urgency and the speed at which I want to move forward and get – again, hold those accountable."

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.