Families and advocates gathered at the capitol this week as House and Senate legislators announced legislation to combat the arbitrary removal of black children from their homes by Minnesota’s child protection department. African American youth in Minnesota are removed from their homes at alarmingly higher rates and are often moved from child protection into the juvenile justice system. The introduced legislation seeks to address racial disparities found within the entire child protection system—from reporting, screening, assessment, to discharge.
Clogging the state’s child protection system with children who are not at risk of harm in their homes has a negative ripple effect on the state’s resources including case worker overload and decreased availability in foster homes, leaving truly vulnerable youth at risk.
The Minnesota African American Preservation Act would address racial inequities by creating an African American Child Welfare Advisory Council and an African American child wellbeing department within the Department of Human Services to increase oversight and accountability within the child protection workforce. If passed, the legislation would help keep more Minnesota families together while simultaneously improving the state’s protection system. (SF 730)