Social workers in Iowa's Polk County have been experimenting with a gentler approach to removing children from parents suspected of abuse or neglect.
Instead of abruptly pulling children away from their parents, social workers in Polk County warn parents that they intend to remove a child. Parents also are invited to make the removal easier, by packing favorite belongings or being allowed to hug their son or daughter goodbye.
The Iowa Department of Human Services wants to take Polk County's approach statewide.
When social workers in Polk County started warning parents 2 1/2 years ago, there were fears that families would disappear. But a department official says they've had only one "runner."