Support Guardians ad Litem

Our experience with the Minnesota Guardian ad Litem (GAL) program has been great, but legislators receive a steady drip-drip-drip of complaints.  That’s not surprising, since parties to child protection cases often dislike GAL recommendations. The Office of Legislative Auditor (OLA) analyzed these criticisms.  Their report says...

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Rich Gehrman Comments
Day on the Hill

This week Safe Passage for Children held its annual Day on the Hill, when volunteers visit their state Representatives and Senators to advocate for victims of child maltreatment. 32 advocates visited 40 elected officials, with...

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Rich GehrmanComment
Don’t Blame the Worker

Blaming workers and supervisors for the current “house of horrors” story is understandable. But this catastrophe occurred amidst extremely high turnover in Hennepin County child protection, which forced inexperienced staff to manage large caseloads. Recently Hennepin has added caseworkers, strengthened...

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Rich Gehrman Comment
Right-Size Minnesota’s Child Welfare Programs

The core components of Minnesota’s child welfare system include the social services needed to implement case plans, attorneys for children, foster homes, and staff – for child protection, foster care, guardians ad litem and County Attorneys.  What is the ‘right-size’ for this system, meaning how much funding does each component and the program overall need to do the job?

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Rich GehrmanComment
A #ProtectChildrenToo Movement?

Nearly everyone deplores Larry Nassar’s assaults on gymnasts, and the workplace sexual harassment unmasked by #MeToo.  After being historically silenced, courageous women are speaking out.  But Minnesota’s children are still being silenced – by alleged abusers who get opportunities to coach and intimidate them before a caseworker arrives.

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Rich Gehrman Comment
What Difference Do We Make?

Foundation officers have told us “We love your program, but it won’t help our metrics.”  Foundations are rightly concerned about being accountable to their communities, hence their emphasis on countable outcomes, such as number of people housed, clothed, or fed.  By comparison, they find our results harder to measure.

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Rich Gehrman Comments
Child Welfare Training Academy – Key Resource

Last week the U of M’s Center for the Advanced Study of Child Welfare presented a proposal for a Child Welfare Training Academy to the Legislative Child Protection Task Force.  The Department of Human Services (DHS) will run the Academy, which is needed to stabilize Minnesota’s child welfare programs.  Other components of a well-functioning system that are also still needed include:

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Rich GehrmanComment
Improved Leadership from the State

Historically, the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) has provided minimal oversight for child welfare compared to most states, leaving management of this program largely up to counties and tribes.  Recently though the Department has implemented updated screening guidelines, a new system for reviewing child fatalities, multiple training efforts, and innovative approaches for dealing with youth.

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Rich Gehrman Comment
What's Coming in 2018

 

 

Here are some major child welfare developments we anticipate for Minnesota in 2018.  We should see progress on statewide reforms. The state's largest jurisdiction, Hennepin County, is on course to improve its program significantly.

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Rich Gehrman Comment