Keep the Good Parts of Family Assessment

Minnesota’s Family Assessment (FA) program is based the unsubstantiated claim that traditional child protection practices are disrespectful of parents, and the assumption - proven false by research – that parents will engage in services voluntarily. Some FA practices also endanger children, for example…


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Rich GehrmanComment
Is Kinship Care Always Better?

This state Dashboard Report shows that kinship foster care increased from 35.8% of days in care to 58.5% since 2014.  The federal goal is 37.5%. When metrics stray this far from expectations we look deeper.  In this case we have heard concerns about workers being pressured to move children to questionable kinship settings, including by disrupting…

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Rich GehrmanComment
Lessons from the 2019 Minnesota State Legislative Session

As reported last week, the 2019 legislative session funded the Child Welfare Training Academy, which will help ensure consistent social work practices statewide.  The Center for the Advanced Study of Child Welfare deserves great credit for their dogged efforts to pass this bill. Guardians ad litem and Public Defenders also got more resources. Overall however both political parties viewed child welfare largely through …


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Rich GehrmanComment
Mixed Results in Legislative Session – Your Help is Needed!

With ten days to go, the 2019 Minnesota legislative session has produced mixed results for child welfare related programs. Currently, the House budgets in various Conference Committees include infrastructure increases for the biennium of $4.2 million for the Child Welfare Training Academy, $10.9 million for guardians ad litem, and $31 million for Public Defenders.  For prevention and…

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More Funding for Children’s Services

The Department of Human Services produced this helpful analysis of expenditures for Minnesota children’s services.  Some highlights… Reforms in 2015 accelerated these increases by bringing thousands of additional children into child protection and foster/kinship care.  Many of them were eligible for federal entitlement programs, which required the state and counties to pay for …


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Rich GehrmanComment
Does Child Protection Do More Harm than Good?

Recent reforms have dramatically increased the number of Minnesota families receiving Child Protection Services (CPS).  Some practitioners and activists say that the damage done by entangling additional families in the system is often not worth the improvements to child safety and well-being, particularly if…

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Rich Gehrman Comment
Ideology is No Friend to Children

Ideologues on either end of the spectrum frequently view child protection as “government interference” in families. For example, the practice of promising parents immunity from a maltreatment finding before doing any fact-finding reflects a liberal goal to …

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Rich GehrmanComment
Implementing a Core Reform

Jaws drop whenever we tell people that child protection workers commonly interview children in front of their alleged abusers. They say, correctly, that this would be unthinkable in other settings, for example interviewing both partners together in …

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Rich GehrmanComment
Child Advocates Day at the Capitol

A big Thank You to the 30 Safe Passage volunteers who visited 25 state Senators and Representatives this week to advocate for improvements to Minnesota’s child welfare system. They asked legislators to support: a study of racial disparities in child protection and foster care by…

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Rich GehrmanComment
The Broken Harts Podcast

This Glamour Magazine “Broken Harts” podcast is about two White mothers from Minnesota who drove their six adopted Black children off a California cliff. The details could support two competing views of child welfare - that government is too slow to protect children, or takes…

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Rich GehrmanComment