The last few weeks have been new territory for all of us. Our daily lives may have changed but for children in abusive home environments, COVID-19 has put them at greater risk.

Families who are at risk of child abuse or neglect often rely on social workers to provide in-home visits and parenting education to help create a healthy, stable home for their children. As face-to-face contact has been largely restricted across the state, these families no longer have the in-person visits they have relied on. It’s critical to find new ways to serve these families and keep Iowa kids safe.

Child abuse does not stop when the rest of the world does. And neither do our Iowa social workers. 

Lutheran Services in Iowa (LSI) is committed to building happy, loving home environments where children can thrive, free from the risk of abuse. In-person appointments may no longer be an option but across the state, our social workers have been relentlessly dedicated to supporting the families in their care through the use of digital platforms. 

Through LSI’s Early Childhood Services, social workers are providing weekly video chats, providing families with tips and resources to reduce stressors in the home, decrease the risk of future child abuse, and connect them with career-building resources, affordable housing, and more. 

These services are critical for improving health and wellness for Iowa families, especially now, when school, community supports, and – in some cases – jobs, are no longer available. With parents and children in their homes 24/7, preventative services have never been more important for keeping Iowa children free from abuse or neglect.  LSI staff across the state are there to provide those services, as well as a familiar support system families can trust through this crisis. 

It takes a village to raise a child. And now, even if we’re a 6-feet-apart village, Iowa’s human services workforce is still there, ready to make sure no families in our community are overlooked during this difficult time.

Nancy Krause is the Director of LSI’s Early Childhood Services. She can be reached at Nancy.Krause@LSIowa.org