Longtime child protection and family law expert Jerry Foxhoven will become the new head of Iowa’s Department of Human Services.
In the past year, two high profile deaths of adopted Iowa teenaged girls have raised questions about DHS’s leadership and policies. Both girls, who were not related and adopted by different families, were extremely malnourished when they died.
Foxhoven has never worked for DHS, but he has been involved with a number child welfare work groups and organizations. He says his outsider status might help bring about needed changes at the department and create safety nets to prevent future tragedies.
"We’re going to take a look from beginning to end, and look at everything we do and see how we can be the very best at protecting children," he says. "It’s really too early for me to say, 'Here’s what I’m going to do,'" because the first thing I need to do is take a look at what’s going on."
Foxhoven is coming to DHS from Drake Law School where he’s held a number of leadership positions, including directing the Joan and Lyle Middleton Center for Children’s Rights from 2006 to 2011. His most recent role was as the executive director of the school's clinical law programs.
Foxhoven is a 1977 graduate of Drake Law School. In 1974, he earned his bachelor of science degree from Morningside College in Sioux City.