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State senator criticizes agency for skipping meeting about abuse

A Democratic lawmaker has criticized a state agency director for declining to send staff to an informal committee meeting about how the department handles child abuse investigations. (MGN Online)

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- A Democratic lawmaker has criticized a state agency director for declining to send staff to an informal committee meeting about how the department handles child abuse investigations.

Sen. Matt McCoy says Iowa Department of Human Services Director Charles Palmer lied about the agency's ability to attend and answer questions at the Monday meeting, led by Democrats on the Senate Government Oversight Committee.

McCoy says he's looking into DHS following high-profile cases involving the death of a 16-year-old girl and abuse of another teenager. He also wants to look into abuse at a state institution.

McCoy has criticized the GOP committee chairman for not holding oversight meetings so far this year.

McCoy has also criticized Gov. Terry Branstad, alleging he hasn't done enough to investigate the department. Branstad on Monday accused McCoy of politicizing the issue.

A DHS spokeswoman declined to comment beyond Branstad's response.

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