Give the State More Authority
As described last week, there are three main reasons the recent “house of horrors” case happened. Hennepin County is making an all-out effort to improve its program by adding caseworkers and creating a more supportive work environment. But other factors that contributed to this tragedy remain unchanged, including the lack of statewide standards for child protection and foster care.
Unlike similarly-structured states, Minnesota’s Department of Human Services (DHS) is only authorized to establish guidelines for counties’ response to initial maltreatment reports, not for the rest of the child welfare services continuum. So a basic tool that other states have to foster consistent quality is unavailable here.
To avoid more horrific cases, DHS needs the authority to implement common quality standards statewide.
Next: parents as the primary clients of child protection.
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