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.

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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.

Rich GehrmanComment