Thank you again Chris Serres and the Star Tribune for this story about overwhelmed and undertrained social workers.
It hurts me to know that I live in a state that pays the least of almost all states in training social workers and continues to underfund the federally mandated guardian ad litem program so severely that over six hundred children do not have a Court Appointed Special Advocate even today. A Court Appointed GAL is the only voice abused children have in court once they have been removed from their homes.
The list of underfunded programs for the most vulnerable citizens in our community is long and been growing (we have the money*).
Without the Star Tribune’s continued reporting on child abuse issues, trauma and abuse would still be non-issues as they were when 3-year-old Dennis Jergens was tortured to death in White Bear Lake in the 1960’s. His mother Lois Jergens went on to adopt four other children by moving out of the state.
If it wasn’t for Brandon Stahl, Chris Serres & other serious reporters, my CASA guardian ad Litem children would have the same lack of recognition & protection they had Dennis was murdered by his adoptive mother.
The good news is that our child protection failures have been taken seriously by Governor Dayton & a growing number of policy makers who are becoming aware and putting thought and energy I to better policy making for at risk children.
No longer do Counties get a pass for screening out 90% of their child abuse calls or forbid social workers from reviewing a family’s prior history of abuse when receiving a new one.
It hasn’t been that long ago that Governor Pawlenty decided subsidized daycare in MN was unnecessary and redirected those fund into the General Fund and the waiting list of poor families in need of day care went from 34 to 7000.
“Children that are victims of failed responsibility are not my problem nor are they the problem of the State of MN” was his statement to KARA board member David Strand and Legislator Andy Dawkins at the time he was running for Governor.
Back then a politician could get away with a statement like that. I don’t think so today.
The numbers of abused children are increasing and the nightmare murders and rapes of children reported in the newspaper are growing in frequency and intensity.
There is still very little transparency about how well or poorly our foster care/adoption and child protection efforts are working.
I apologize for this comparison – but it reinforces my argument that we underfund programs that improve the lives of our most damaged and vulnerable children and there is no excuse for it.
Not long ago I compared foster care payments to doggy day care rates and found that some states daily rates for boarding a dog than they paid foster families for caring for a child.
*Recently, MN has had nearly a billion dollars for a new sports stadium, a billion dollars for a new transportation system and almost a billion dollars for the damages, deaths, rebuilding and estimated costs related to the 35W bridge collapse due to the failure to keep it maintained.