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.
However DHS doesn't quite yet provide the level of checks and balances on counties necessary for a healthy system. It still needs to change the organizational culture that relegated it to a weak role, and get resources commensurate with upgraded responsibilities. Chief among these is the authority to set standards for ongoing child protection cases and foster care, a Training Institute, and a quality assurance program appropriate for a state of our size.