Communities of Color as Customers

Communities of color are represented in Minnesota's child protection and foster care caseloads at roughly twice the national average.  Recently, Safe Passage asked African American, Native American, and Hmong leaders to... 

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Rich Gehrman
Risky Child Protection Practices Persist

State law changed in 2015 to make child safety the primary purpose of child protection, not family preservation.  The Governor's Child Protection Task Force reinforced this with several recommended practice changes including: making the first child protection visit unannounced instead of scheduling it in advance, no longer conducting initial interviews of children in the presence of their alleged abusers, and training workers to do fact-finding. However counties and the state Department of Human Services...

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Rich Gehrman
Child Care Makes Foster Care Better

When children are removed from their biological families to foster care the resulting trauma often contributes to challenging behaviors and failed placements.  Children who eventually go through many foster placements frequently become...

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Rich Gehrman
More Child Care Means Less Foster Care

In cases of severe neglect or abuse, foster care may be unavoidable.  But removing children from their homes is itself traumatizing.  Quality child care can reduce situations where taking this drastic step is necessary.  Research shows that children who...

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Rich Gehrman
Transparency Needed on Child Killings

Minnesota law* requires counties to review killings of children known to child protection within 90 days, and to make the resulting reports public.  But this process lacks transparency in several ways.  Most basically, counties rarely honor requests for these reports.  To rectify this, we asked...

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Rich Gehrman
Resurgence of Child Fatalities

In the 18 months following the March 2015 Governor's Child Protection Task Force,  only three children were reported to be killed by their caregivers.  But so far this year there have been seven, including five since June. In coming weeks we will...

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Rich Gehrman
Why McKenna’s Law Matters

Over the past two years McKenna Ahrenholz, now 13, courageously testified several times to the Minnesota legislature that her county repeatedly returned her and her three siblings home from foster care against their wishes. “My father abused us”, she said.   “Why would we want to go back?” With support from Children’s Law Center, ...

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Rich Gehrman
Fourth of July

On the eve of this Fourth of July weekend, we invite you to contemplate some positive developments for children from the recently (nearly) concluded Minnesota state legislative session:

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Rich Gehrman
Still Waiting for Basic Information

In 2015 the Governor’s Child Protection Task Force raised concerns that Minnesota counties only screened in 29% of maltreatment reports for an in-person visit – either an assessment or investigation – compared with 62% nationally.  It urged...

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Rich Gehrman
Donny and Martha

Locked in adjacent rooms, siblings Donny and Martha didn’t see each other for seven years.  They escaped to the runaway house where I worked.  We gave them all the support we could, but too much damage was done.  They joined a religious cult and vanished. Current myth says all children want to be with their biological parents and...

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Rich Gehrman
Not All Children Should Go Home

Often at child welfare gatherings someone says “Children shouldn’t be removed from their parents because they always want to go home anyway”.  Usually heads nod in agreement. Actually, a small but significant percentage of children fight to be...

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Rich Gehrman