Here are the collected comments (and one of mine—below);


More information on how to get involved to improve the system


I would have liked the powerpoint from Mr. Grunewald


Action groups, have topics available to get people to sign up right away


More microphones and personal testimonies


Handout the panel names and healthier snacks (fruit, whole wheat)

 Use the microphone better at the podium

Can you include actual examples of cases?

More input from foster kids on what has helped along the way

 Have action groups actually started at the forum

 More publicity beforehand

 Microphone on both sides

 Improve more youth and/or foster/adopted children

 It was pretty general

 Increase the voice of those disenfranchised by the system-too many people who are a part of the system

 More time for questions

 Video tape it… Make it live

 Maybe a smaller panel or more time for questions

 Your charge is to build new tools materials and strategies for engaging other communities and making an impact beyond this group that is already educated and connected to these issues.


 Ron Bell’s voice on race was CRITICAl. Had he not been present, I would have been deeply concerned. The fact that he was invited and at the last minute is still concerning.

 Race must be addressed and not overlooked in such formats.

 Panelists were excellent

 Friendly, personal perspectives, purposeful

 Panel was great.

 Diversity of the panel

 Good presentations and panel

 Diversity of the panel, Rob, Jessica, Patti


 Learning how many concerned and involved folks there are

 The Candid discussions about what REALLY affects this population

 I had a chance to speak

 Hearing from such a diverse panel

 The panel

 Good variety of specialties on the panel, great expertise and good to have audience asked and asking the questions.

 Great moderator

 Great panel

 Panel and audience questions

 Interaction, networking

 The varied approaches by the panel members

 The diverse panel and direct questions from the attendees

 Articulate panel members, diverse points of view

 Organizations, people on the panel


 Variety of panelists

 Meeting others that do work similar to me and are like minded and passionate

 Great group of people. I liked hearing from those who have seen through the system.

 The Panelists were fantastic

 I enjoyed it, keep it up


Clyde Turner

 Social workers front line.. to see what dept/govt powers effect their ability to keep family together

 Mr. Coleman

 Erin Sullivan Sutton DHS

 Foundations like MCKnight

 County Commissioners

More community organizations

 Cultural providers network

 More foster care youth. Legislators/senators

 Center for Excellence on Children’s Mental Health

More of the same.. social workers, examples of cases, nurses, (I think this writer wished for a clearer understanding of the roles of the parties in child protection)

Social Worker that is working in the system currently

 Lawyer working within the system currently

 Need a follow up forum

Social worker providing services, more people of color, persons that are not “on board” different perspectives.


90% said yes 10% said possibly


 How to activate the community

How to do better with less—it is not realistic in these times to just say we need more early intervention, how do we do better with what we have (and assumed funding cuts)

How can we fund child welfare prevention and early intervention

(what to do) When the system not only Fails, but becomes the abuser to the child

How do we “market” our understanding to individuals, families, communities that are not aware or engaged?

 How to influence policy and how to get grassroots movements going

 Cultural issues. How can community make an impact? How to help young fathers and mothers better care for their children?

 How can we break the cycle

 How do we change juvenile justice and adult criminal justice from adversarial to recovery orientation?

Help me identify resources for working with at risk kids


Excellent, Good Job

 55% rated it a 5 out of 5 against similar events you have attended, 39% a 5, and 6% a 3

More economics. Such an important aspect of this work and how to “tell it” to our communities.

good useful forum

What is the outcome at the End of the forum

 What is the Call to Action beyond angst (is it just community awareness?)

Nice Job

Teachers who work with at risk kids

Is there a mechanism for controlling out of state adoption agencies?

 Thank you, I would love to see more of these forums

I wish that we would have had time to have small group discussions

Thank you

It’s time for a collective voice to represent all the groups here today to lobby, inform, effect constructive change in attitudes and purpose in child raising….KIDS COUNT

The only response I have to the comments made above was the “on Board” comment.

On board with what?

Patti and Jessica gave very personal explanations of how their lives (and Patti’s four adopted children) were altered forever by the child welfare system. I don’t think it’s fair to say that they were “on board” at all.

Ron Bell gave a clear indication that his community suffered immensely under current policies and he did not feel “on board”.

If you listened closely to Judge Lefler, or know of his commitment to children in child protection, you would see that he works tirelessly for change and support for at risk youth.

I’ve come to the conclusion over the years that most of the people in the system have hearts of gold, work passionately for the children they are trying to help, and equally hard to understand and bring compassion to the system that they are forced to work within.

There is no alternative but to quit. They already don’t get enough resources to do the job or support for the work that they do.

It is up to those of us that make up the community to support the policy makers that pass the laws and budgets that can make a positive impact on the youth we wish to help.

If we don’t contact our policy makers and cast our vote with NO TAX candidates, there will be inadequate support for bridges, schools, early childhood programs, and children in need of protection.

The point made by Rob Grunewald and the outcome of all the work he did studying early childhood programs is that it costs way less money, not more money, for early intervention and early childhood development, than waiting to correct the problems of juvenile delinquency, early pregnancy, troubled schools, unsafe communities, and the great costs to our health care system..

KARA’s core message is that taking care of children is the greatest investment a nation can make. Let’s those of us that know this take it out into the community.

The final panel members were:

1) David Thompson

RAMSEY COUNTY child protection manager: focus on policy development, new programming, technical assistance to counties and practice guidance.

2) Ron Bell

Hennepin County Social Worker Supervisor

3) Patti Hetrick

Adoptive mother of four Children


4) Jessica Cimbura-Is a high school junior and a youth member of Our Voice Matter.

5) Hennepin District Court Judge Herbert Lefler (12 years on the Juvenile Court)

6) Rob Grunewald Federal Reserve Board member and coauthor of Early Childhood Development research published by the Federal Reserve Bank




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