Iowa watchdog criticizes child center oversight

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa’s ombudsman says the state failed to properly monitor a child care center after discovering children engaging in sexual behavior.

In a report released Wednesday, Ombudsman Ruth Cooperrider states that the Department of Human Services did not “appropriately sanction” the center after complaints of sexual behavior among children in 2010.

The Child Development Center in Des Moines is owned by Children and Families of Iowa. DHS Director Charles Palmer responded in a written statement, saying the agency takes its responsibilities seriously and the department stands by the decision to let the center keep its license.

Palmer says he had accepted some of the ombudsman’s recommendations for changes, such as clarifying rules about reporting inappropriate sexual behavior to parents, but he rejected others.

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