With Governor Dayton’s Task Force recommendations reported in today’s Star Tribune article (Dayton’s Task Force Agrees On Overhaul, Brandon Stahl), I am optimistic that this (“great” example) approach to child well being could become a reality.

Ten years ago, the father of one of my family’s Mexican foreign exchange students explained how he (as a State of Sinaloa Legislator) had traveled to MN and CA to review child protection systems.  At the time, these were the two states he deemed to have the most advanced and effective systems in the nation.

MN has at one time done child protection as well or better than any other state – when reviewed by someone without bias.

MN reduced child protection funding by over forty million dollars these past few years.  This explains sad stories like Eric Dean’s death after fifteen (ignored) reports of abuse by mandated reporters and why family assessments replaced child protection, why social workers are shorted training, process, and resources needed to effect the change that could heal toxic families or provide safety to their young charges.

The other side of this (“great example”) headline are states setting a “worst” examples?  

There are many states where it is increasingly dangerous for children born as the next generation of (sad stories) abused and neglected children to become preteen mothers and adolescent felons, many of whom are proscribed psychotropic medications to control dangerous behaviors.  If you Google “worst states in America”, they are the states with;

the least;

spent on prenatal care, crisis nurseries, early childhood education, child welfare and child protection,

the most;

 child poverty, infant mortality, child abuse death, child death, teen death, births to teen moms, sexually transmitted diseases among youth, least amount spent on child welfare, child poverty, uninsured children, 

These states fail to grasp the impact of not saving at risk children and breaking the cycle of dysfunctional children and generational child abuse.  

Youth without coping skills or basic parenting ability, often with alcohol & drug problems and tendencies towards violence and sex abuse have a huge impact on the schools they attend, dropout rates, jail and prison populations, and the quality of life in their communities.  

Minnesotans should recognize that the forty million dollars in child protection cuts these past few years has probably cost many times that much in troubled youth with marginal coping skills, mental health issues, and *violent/criminal behaviors.  

When it is your child, neighbor, or friend that is mugged, assaulted, robbed, or worse, these words have much more impact.  

Ask your teacher friends what it’s like to preside over a classroom with troubled youth, or your friend with a child adopted from County Child Protection, 

Ask your social worker friends what it is like to work within a system where the needs are so great and the resources so few.

*Nationally, the insurance costs of crime are between 1 and 1.6 trillion dollars a year.

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