Family Response to Mr. Concannon's Letter
Dear Mr. Concannon,
I’m sorry that what you felt was a “sensational” report by WHO-TV was to many very factual.
In our system the press helps support public organizations like DHS through taxes on profits and the salaries of their employees. They need to make a profit and to grow. The best time to do that is when there is a good story to promote, sweeps week or not. They also have a responsibility to the public and to any organization which they are reporting on to be truthful, unbiased and fair in their representations. We feel that this was done in the case of the DHS report on WHO-TV.
I understand that the DHS has a difficult job in helping to keep children safe and has in place programs to enhance the delivery of services to the families that they serve.
You said, “I and the governor have reviewed these files and found the department acted appropriately. When prosecutors give permission, the record will be laid out for the public to see.” Actually, you have our permission to release the four unsealed reports to the public at this time and wait for the other reports when they become available. There is no need to not release them now since Evey is in no further danger.
Statistics don’t mean a great deal to our family right now. The only one that matters is our one dead daughter and grandchild, Evelyn, and personally making sure that your department and its employees acted logically and within procedures to keep her safe.
You further said, “We rely upon a broad partnership of parents, schools, churches, courts, and others, including the media, to help protect children and to support families. We welcome oversight. We also believe in telling the full story, not editing out factors that provide evidence on the strengths and positives of Iowa's child welfare system.”
Andy and Lindsey honestly tried to work with your agency and were frankly rebuffed in their efforts and discouraged by what they felt as a rejection of their appeals to your Charles City Office. Even after Evelyn’s death their reports of abuse were regarded by the Governor as having come from relatives who had an “axe to grind” and “whose credibility was suspect.” This flies in the face of your former statement.
We and the public want to be with, not against the DHS. As with organization, errors can be made by individuals that affect the lives of those served and damage the integrity and public respect of their organizations.
We hope to resolve those issues as we move forward.
Please be so kind as to forward this e-mail to your entire staff.
The Christie Family
Richard, Linda, Andrew and Lindsey Christie