Too Many Neglect Reports or Too Few?

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Research indicates that educational neglect reports often indicate more serious problems.  But in Minnesota they can be triggered simply by seven unexcused school absences, which can easily accumulate while bus routes catch up with families moving to and from homeless shelters.

This supports concerns that too many African American and Native American children are screened into child protection due to poverty-related conditions such as lack of food or shelter, not because of true parental neglect.

Yet statistics indicate that Minnesota still responds to about 12,000 fewer children a year than similar states.

Are we screening in too many or too few neglect reports?  Are poorly crafted statutes, imprecise training, or caseworker bias driving system-wide errors?  We won’t know until we have routine case reviews that identify where changes are needed.

What do you think?

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Rich Gehrman2 Comments