Thankful

It’s a good time to remember where real progress is happening. Here are some developments in Minnesota’s child protection and foster care programs that we are grateful for this Thanksgiving: ...

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Rich Gehrman 2 Comments
Share Your Views on Legislation to Protect Children

Preferred child protection practices currently allow alleged abusers opportunities to coach and intimidate children before workers can interview them individually.  These include giving advance notice of the worker’s visit, and interviewing children in front of their parents as the first step in the process. Safe Passage is weighing state legislation to end these practices. We understand our proposal raises concerns about parental rights. But consider this...

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Focus on Foster Children

This tragic Star Tribune story about a foster mother beating an infant feeds a perception that the quality of Minnesota foster care is poor. It's more accurately described as uneven, a mix of skilled and committed foster parents and some who are primarily in it for income. The unevenness results from...

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Rich GehrmanComment
MN Department of Education Steps Up

The most important 2017 legislation for preventing child maltreatment prioritizes child care scholarships to children who are in child protection or foster care or are homeless.  It also makes them eligible at birth rather than age three.  This is critical because quality child care can help offset the potentially devastating impact of maltreatment on brain development in infants and toddlers. Passing legislation doesn't guarantee it will be implemented.  But the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) quickly...

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Rich GehrmanComment
Don't Abandon Reforms

Pressure is surfacing to ease up on child protection reforms. This is because counties are now legally obligated to use state standards when assessing maltreatment reports. As a result, more reports are being screened in for service, and caseloads are surging. In response...

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Rich GehrmanComment
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