Response from Jeff Johnson, Candidate for Governor

Safe Passage for Children of Minnesota is a nonprofit citizens’ group that advocates for improvements in Minnesota’s child welfare system. Our volunteer advocates throughout the state serve as watchdogs for the system governing child protection, foster care and related services. We are conducting a survey of all declared candidates for Minnesota governor to obtain their views on the current state of our child welfare system. The results of this survey are being shared broadly throughout Minnesota.

Read on for Safe Passage for Children's questions and Candidate Jeff Johnson's responses:

Safe Passage for Children: Our child protection system is overburdened in many Minnesota counties. For example, child protection worker caseloads have increased. Do you favor increased state funding for our child protection system, overall?

Jeff Johnson: I’m not willing to make increased funding promises to any group as I believe that’s not honest or responsible. I do, however, understand well as a Hennepin County Commissioner the terrible inadequacies of our child protection system and have been supportive of very significant funding increases at the county.

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Safe Passage for Children: The Task Force on the Protection of Children recommended that child protection workers discontinue the practice of interviewing victims in the presence of their alleged abusers (who may be parents or caregivers). Do you favor changing this recommendation to a requirement?

Jeff Johnson: Yes.

Safe Passage for Children: Children of color, especially African Americans and Native Americans, are disproportionally over-represented in the child protection system. What steps would you consider to ensure that the system is working in the best interests of all Minnesota children?

Jeff Johnson: I believe we’re all God’s children and race will not be a factor for me in any of my decisions as governor.

Safe Passage for Children: Please provide any additional comments on Minnesota’s child protection system and how you would approach that system as Governor (max. 200 words).

Jeff Johnson: (No additional answers).