babies best everBrandon Stahl’s reporting has been the best thing to happen for Minnesota’s abused and neglected children in my lifetime.

As a longtime volunteer CASA guardian ad-Litem, I have seen an underfunded and not too healthy child protection system become sclerotic, insular, and unresponsive to the needs of our most vulnerable children.

The slow tortured death of Eric Dean was only reported in a newspaper because he died.  Had he lived, we would not know about it.  I have children in my CASA guardian ad-Litem caseload that suffered just like Eric, and no one knows about their suffering but me (and people that read my words).

Over the past twenty years, I have watched underfunded, under-trained, under-resourced child protection workers (including judges, educators, day care and health providers, foster and adoptive families, try to work with cold and unresponsive systems that are now creating exactly what they were designed to stop.

I have seen lives of very young children destroyed forever because easily available information was ignored.  Plenty of children in Minnesota have had Eric Dean type torture that no one knows about (because our systems are overwhelmed and unresponsive).

Governor Dayton’s proposed investigation should uncover the sad truth that no child protection information gets public attention unless a child has died violently.

The fact that most counties don’t keep past reports of screened out cases and are prohibited from considering past reports when evaluating new charges of child abuse should be seen for the awful impact it is having on children living in toxic homes (it leaves children in homes where they are molested, neglected, tortured, and murdered).

That Minnesota Counties don’t report death and near death of children as required by Federal Law is misfeasance, nonfeasance, or malfeasance and should be viewed as a crime worth punishment.

In a nation with the largest annual income on the planet (as measured by gross domestic product), that we don’t support the people, programs, and policies that could at least protect the Eric Dean’s living among us, is a sad reflection on the values we hold as citizens, neighbors, and voters.

8319 (families on a waiting list for subsidized day care in MN)

4 (average times a child is placed in child protection)

47th (Ranking of MN for amount spent on children in child protection)

80% (percentage of children abused again while under court supervision)

29% (percentage of children sent back to the abusive conditions they were rescued from)

60% (percentage of child abuse calls screened out overall in MN 3rd highest in the nation)

90% (percentage of child abuse calls screened out by Red Lake, Houston, LeSeur, & Nicollet Counties)

What can you do?

Become a volunteer CASA guardian ad-Litem and work for the best interest of a child in your county Phone: (612) 728-5930

Call your state representative (Senator, Governor, other people of influence) and send them this article

Vote for child friendly legislation

Quit the destructive blaming and finger pointing that has brought us to this sad state and be concerned and constructive in your thoughts and deeds.

Support KARA’s MN public TV documentary project

Dayton Sees Colossal Failure in child protection;


  • Eric Dean: A flawed system and horrific death | Star Tribune

    Star Tribune

    5 days ago – 31 Star Tribune special report by Brandon Stahl. … While a statemortality review panel composed of experts will examine Eric’s death, public  …

    You visited this page on 9/7/14.
  • TIMELINE: The life and death of Eric Dean | Star Tribune

    Star Tribune

    Aug 30, 2014 – By: BRANDON STAHL and DAVE BRAUNGER , Star Tribune … By the time his stepmother finally admitted to abusing him, it was too late.

    You’ve visited this page 3 times. Last visit: 9/7/14
  • State misses chances to save abused kids’ lives – Star Tribune

    Star Tribune

    Aug 30, 2014 – Seven children died last year from abuse or neglect despite prior …Article by: BRANDON STAHL , Star Tribune; Updated: August 30, 2014 … initial reviewhas found that some counties could have done more. … Beginning in May 2009, Pope County Child Protection received 15 … You are now subscribed.


    5 days ago – Thank you Star Tribune and Brandon Stahl for your in depth reporting on… MN now ranks 47th among the states on the amount it spends on children in child protection. 30% of Minnesota families reported for abuse receive services … That would be a start towards recording and responding to the biggest  …





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