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
Protect Children As Well As Adults

Thankfully, two recent Star Tribune investigations prompted authorities to move quickly to improve protections for victims of rape and sexual assault, and for victims of mistreatment in assisted living settings. The Minnesota Police Officer Standards and Training Board…


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Rich Gehrman Comment
Get Access to Prevention Funding

The federal Family First Preservation Services Act shifts child welfare funding from group homes and residential treatment to prevention services. This is a positive development overall.  But deep-end placements will still be needed and, unless the state steps in, counties will ultimately…


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Rich GehrmanComment