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 84 counties and tribes running this program individually, with no statewide standards, a minimal quality assurance program, and an underfinanced state training unit.
Recent state decisions compounded these problems, causing many foster homes that served high needs children to close. These included a new rate structure that effectively pays for improved adoption subsidies by lowering payments to the most experienced providers.
Reforms currently underway address child protection intake and in-home cases. A parallel initiative is needed for foster care.