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Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare

Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare

Recently in Child Protective Services Category

Earlier this week I read several articles (example) about Arizona Governor Jan Brewer's executive order to dismantle the state's Child Protective Services (CPS) agency under the Department of Economic Security and create a Cabinet-level division called the Division of Child Safety and Family Services that would take over CPS duties. This division would be directed by Charles Flanagan, the current...
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The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry estimates that ten million children witness incidences of domestic violence between their caregivers (or intimate partner violence [IPV]) each year. In addition, a recent U.S. survey showed that more than half of youth exposed to IPV had also been maltreated. Such exposure can result in manifestation of serious emotional and behavioral problems....
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This blog post was originally posted by JaeRan Kim in our Stability, Permanency, & Adoption Blog on August 5, 2013. As of last Thursday, August 1 2013, the Family Reunification Act went into effect. This law allows foster youth 15 and older who were never adopted to have the option to reunite with their birth parents. The law stipulates that...
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In addition to Article 3 and Article 17 (Northstar Care for Children), there are other areas within Chapter 108 (the omnibus Health and Human Services finance bill) that are directly applicable to children and families involved in the child welfare system. These are just a few. Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Youth The Safe Harbor bill I highlighted back in...
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In February of 2012, the Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA) released its findings on child protection screening and provided recommendations for the State to improve this process. As a response to the OLA recommendations, Sen. Jeff Hayden and Rep. Susan Allen introduced legislation this year to establish a child protection screening work group and require counties to follow the...
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In the 2011 legislative special session, the legislature passed a Safe Harbor law that began addressing how sexually exploited youth are viewed in the eyes of the law in Minnesota. Under this law, sexually exploited youth under age 18 are viewed as victims of crime (children in need of protection) rather than juvenile delinquents, at least for their first encounter...
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UPDATE 12/7/12: President Barack Obama signed this bill into law on December 7, 2012. On November 26, the U.S. Senate passed the bipartisan bill H.R. 6063, otherwise known as the Child Protection Act of 2012, which focuses on protecting children from child pornography, sexual abuse, and trafficking by enhancing law enforcement's ability to protect children and find perpetrators of these...
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As of August 1, the new Safe Place for Newborns law in Minnesota went into effect. Since 2000, Minnesota has had a Safe Place for Newborns law that allowed a mother (or her official representative) to bring her newborn infant to a hospital within 3 days of birth for the purpose of relinquishing her rights to the child without prosecution...
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One of the new laws that went into effect last Wednesday was regarding unreasonable child restraint. Although we've posted on this in the past (Criminal Neglect Penalties for Unreasonable Restraint of Children added to the Vulnerable Adult Bill), I recently saw an article that discussed this new law as a policy change for general child abuse, when in fact it...
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An article highlighted in a recent Child Welfare in the News listing from Child Welfare Information Gateway discussed issues with Illinois' child maltreatment reporting hotline: Child abuse hotline callers must leave messages. The article states that "[m]ore than 60 percent of calls to Illinois' child abuse hot line...are answered by a message service instead of a welfare specialist" and that...
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The Minnesota Department of Human Services has just released two bulletins summarizing the 2012 children and family services legislation & the 2012 adoption assistance legislation. Most of the new changes are effective August 1 or 2, 2012, with the exception of Jacob's Law, which is effective July 1, 2012. For our child welfare-related summaries of this legislation, see our S.F....
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This blog post will address child welfare modifications from Articles 3 and 4 of S.F. 1675, which was recently signed into law by Governor Dayton. Article 3: Adoption Assistance Language from the adoption statute 260 was moved to 259A to create a more seamless process from child protection. Article 4: Child Protection Reasonable efforts for reunification: Exemptions added:If a parent...
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This blog post will take a look at Article 2 of S.F. 1675. This article addresses the expansion of Safe Place for Newborns. Give Life a Chance; Safe Place for Newborns, Duties; Immunity Safe Place language has been expanded to include not only hospitals but health care providers who provide urgent care medical services and ambulance services dispatched in...
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S.F. 1586/ H.F. 1945 was revised on April 9, 2012, adding additional penalties for parents, guardians or caregivers who confine or restraint children which results in demonstrable bodily harm. Demonstrable bodily harm is bodily harm capable of being perceived by a person other than the victim. These penalties include up to 2 years in prison, or a fine up to...
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S.F. 2297 and H.F. 1899 were signed into law by Governor Dayton on April 4, 2012. This law, known as Jacob's Law, requires both parents to be notified if their child is a possible victim of abuse, neglect or sexual assault. This petition was brought forth by Sarah Guggisberg of Clara City, MN whose son was abused by a neighbor....
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On Monday, March 12th S.F. 1165 was heard in the Health and Human Services Committee. This bill was introduced to amend language in 125A.30 Interagency Early Intervention Committees. This language would prompt a referral for an early intervention screening for children under age 3 who are subject of an accepted report for investigation or family assessment by a local child...
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On Tuesday, February 21, the Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA) released their evaluation report on Child Protection Screening. That same day,The Health and Human Services Reform Committee heard testimony from eight individuals representing agencies ranging from the Minnesota Department of Human Services to local nonprofits. The purpose of the Committee hearing was to present the report's findings and recommendations...
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Today (Wednesday, February 1) there will be a hearing in the Minnesota House Public Safety and Crime Prevention Policy and Finance Committee at 10:15 AM in Room 10 State Office Building. The agenda includes several items, but the one most relevant to child welfare is Jacob's Law (HF 1899), whose short description is "Jacob's law established requiring notice of crime...
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Keeping All Students Safe Act

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On December 16, 2011, Senator Thomas Harkins (D-IA) introduced Keeping All Students Safe Act (S. 2020). This bill would protect all school children against harmful and life-threatening seclusion and restraint practices. The House has a companion bill H.R. 1381 introduced by Rep. George Miller (D-CA7). A similar bill was introduced in 2009 called Preventing Harmful Restraint and Seclusion in the...
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Our new Minn-LInK report (full version and brief) highlights a study conducted through our Center, in partnership with Hearth Connection, that shows the positive impact supportive housing has on educational outcomes and overall child well being for children in homeless families. The children involved in this study were enrolled in Hearth Connection's supportive housing program across Minnesota. Over time, these...
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Because the Minnesota legislative session will begin in a couple of weeks, I'd like to focus this blog post on a Minnesota-specific bill related to child welfare. Last April, the Minnesota House (HF 0749) and Senate (SF 1339) introduced a bill called the Family Reunification Act of 2011. The bill would reestablish legal rights between a parent and child which...
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Jeremy Bell Act of 2011

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Today's highlighted bill, H.R. 3766: Jeremy Bell Act of 2011, was introduced on December 23rd by Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick. The proposed bill would penalize by fine, imprisonment, or both, public and private school employers who complete interstate transfers of employees who are child sex offenders. The bill also addresses sexual conduct reporting standards for employees of a school. This bill...
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Protect Our Kids Act of 2011

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Today's bill S.1984, Protect Our Kids Act of 2011, sponsored by Senator John Kerry and Senator Susan Collins was introduced on December 13, 2011. The bill's goal is to establish a commission to develop a national strategy and recommendations for reducing fatalities resulting from child abuse and neglect. The House has introduced the companion bill H.R. 3653 sponsored by Representative...
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On November 15th, Sen. Robert Casey proposed S1872: Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2011. This bill (also, H.R. 3423) would allow families to create savings accounts that can be used for the health and education of a family member with a disability. Sen. Casey introduced the bill specifically to give parents of children with disabilities the same...
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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently released the Child Maltreatment 2010 report, which highlights the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS) data. The Child Welfare League of America discusses the national data on their blog, Children's Monitor; they state that the report shows a decline in the number of children who were maltreated in 2010...
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Yesterday, The U.S. Senate HELP Subcommittee on Children and Families held a hearing on child abuse, which Sen. Bob Casey requested back in November in the wake of the Penn State sexual abuse scandal. The purpose of this hearing was to examine child abuse laws to determine whether or not all adults should be mandated to report any suspected abuse...
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UPDATE: Check out Child Welfare Information Gateway's webpage providing resources on the use of psychotropic medicines for children and youth in fostercare. With the newly-released Government Accountability Office report, "Foster Children: HHS Guidance Could Help States Improve Oversight of Psychotropic Prescriptions," there has been a flurry of activity recently on the issue of over-medicating youth in foster care. I don't...
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Prematurity & Child Maltreatment

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Today is the last day of National Prematurity Awareness Month where the issue of births prior to 37 weeks gestation are highlighted. In approximately 50 percent of all premature births, there is no definite cause for spontaneous preterm labor. Sometimes infections and maternal health conditions, such as diabetes and preeclampsia, are the cause. Some women may also have elective inductions,...
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On November 15th, 2011 the House and Senate introduced the Stillbirth and Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID, or also known as SIDS) Prevention, Education, and Awareness Act of 2011 (H.R.3418 and S. 1862, respectively). If enacted, these bills would help us better understand causes and prevent stillbirths and SUID by:Expanding data collection activities & establishing a national database to track...
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More on Mandated Reporting

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(Updated November 26 with new legislation. -HNO) Due to the intense media coverage of the child sexual abuse scandal at Penn State, it seems that a blog post on mandated reporting in child welfare might be quite relevant and useful. Although the media can be helpful in bringing child welfare issues to the top of policymakers' priority lists (remember Caylee...
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The Foster Children Opportunity Act, H.R. 3333, which was introduced on November 3rd, 2011, would protect abused and neglected immigrant children in foster care and ensure they are given ample opportunity to gain legal status before they leave care. Under current immigration law, many immigrant foster children are eligible for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) and other types of immigration...
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At the end of October, National Public Radio aired a three-part series on Native American children in South Dakota's foster care system, which was the result of a year-long investigation. NPR's report highlighted the fact that in South Dakota:700 Native children are removed from their home every year.They represent over 50% of the foster care system but only 15% of...
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October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month so CASCW is taking this opportunity to highlight the intersection of DV and child welfare. Minnesota's Domestic Abuse Act defines domestic violence as the infliction of physical harm, infliction of the fear of imminent physical harm, terrorist threats, criminal sexual conduct, and interference with a 911 call, committed by "one family or household...
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The bill H. R. 3126: 'Stop Child Abuse in Residential Programs for Teens Act of 2011' was proposed on October 6, 2011 to require certain standards and enforcement provisions to prevent child abuse and neglect in residential programs. What residential programs fall under this bill? This bill would cover private and public programs such as a program with a wilderness...
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Today is World Mental Health Day. This year's theme is "The Great Push: Investing in Mental Health," with a call for governments and others to invest in policies and approaches for removing barriers to mental health services and investing in prevention efforts as a cost-savings measure. In observance of this day, I feel it is important to highlight the need...
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Our Friday recap of highlighted legislation on our Facebook page: H.R. 2012/S. 420: Foster Care Mentoring Act of 2011Bill description: To support the establishment or expansion and operation of programs using a network of public and private community entities to provide mentoring for children in foster care.Bill status: Waiting for a hearing in the House Education and the Workforce committee.This...
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State Policies That Require or Recommend Child Welfare/Early Childhood Collaboration for Intervention ServicesInteragency Early Childhood Intervention SystemThis system is federally mandated by Parts B and C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Part B is special education services for children ages 3 to 21, whereas Part C is early intervention services for infants and toddlers birth-2 years of age....
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Minnesota is racing toward the Monday, May 23rd, deadline. Governor Dayton has indicated that he will reject any legislative budget proposals that resolve the deficit using cuts only; Dayton is calling for an approach that includes cuts and increased revenue. See Politics in Minnesota and MPR. Yesterday, the legislators passed to Governor Dayton their final budget proposal, which does not...
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Legislators slogged through more conference committee meetings this week, debating the state budget. Most of the conversation in Health and Human Services committees has been focused on health care and disability services, with citizen activism disrupting one session. Child welfare issues have not risen to the surface of debates, but they remain very susceptible to the proposed budget cuts. From...
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Each year, the Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA) selects a handful of issues to study through its Program Evaluation Division. Child Protection Screening is one of seven issues selected for evaluation this year. The OLA is a nonpartisan office within the legislative branch. "The office's principal goal is to provide the Legislature, agencies, and the public with audit...
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We're so proud! In a time of budget crisis, our legislature is setting aside partisan politics and protecting some of Minnesota's most vulnerable. The Safe Harbor bill that we've been following is moving forward. It corrects problems in criminal law so that sexually exploited children are directed to support services rather than charged with crimes. The Star Tribune wrote a...
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Monday April 4th was the 15th Annual Social Work Day at the Capitol. The local Fox 9 News covered the social workers' rally. Here's the short video: Social Workers' Rally Supports Dayton's Wealthy Tax: MyFoxTWINCITIES.com The MN Social Service Association put out a call to action. The full MN House, on April 6th, will begin debate on HF 927 (the...
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Social Work Day at the Capitol! Monday April 4th! Social workers have a lot to say about the major Health & Human Service policy and budget decisions at the capitol this session. Are you already planning to be there? Why don't you join in? Details about this important event here. Feeling down about the news coming out of the Capitol...
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A 3 minute update on the Senate's passage of the Health & Human Services Omnibus bill, with "deep cuts health, welfare programs": From Senator Hann, Chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee: "The Minnesota Senate passed the Health and Human Services Omnibus Budget Bill today following a rigorous floor debate. The Senate Republicans' proposal offers a 6 percent...
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It is a contentious week at the Capitol in the high-stakes budget debate. Health care is the main focus of the Health and Human Service discussions, since it comprises the majority of spending in that portion of our state's budget. Child Welfare elements of the bills appear to have moved through unchanged*. So that you don't have to scour the...
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This week was interesting, but next week is sure to be busier! Why? There is a March 25th deadline for budget decisions, which will bring a flurry of activity next week. Child Welfare matters will arise in the House Health and Human Services Finance Committee, where the GOP budget bill will be unveiled on Tuesday, March 22. The committee will...
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There is a lot happening at the Capitol related to our field of Child Welfare! CASCW is keeping tabs on 40 bills that are related to child welfare, and watching 16 of these with a close eye. The majority of these bills have seen no action since they were introduced, when things start moving we'll update you. The focus now...
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Welcome back for another Child Welfare Week in Review! This week the US Supreme Court heard a case involving child abuse investigations at schools, regarding whether parent's consent is required before a child can be questioned at school by a child care worker or a police officer. Read mainstream media coverage, and in-depth legal analysis. In the MN House Health...
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As expected in a budget year, debates about spending continue to dominate this legislative session. So you think you can fix the Minnesota deficit? Give the budget your best shot with this online trial from MinnPost. Can you balance it? If you're reading this blog, chances are good that you have some opinions about the Child Welfare elements of the...
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Let's dig a little deeper into the Governor's budget recommendations, specifically the CCSA allocation and adoption assistance. The Children and Community Services Act is the bulk of the state's contribution to Child Protection. Since last year's reduction was passed as a one-time cut, and since the proposal to make last year's cuts to CCSA permanent were vetoed by the Governor,...
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This week, Governor Dayton released his budget proposal. Keep in mind that the legislature and the Governor are taking opposing approaches to resolving this budget deficit. So don't get too attached to the details within this budget, as it's very likely to change through the legislative process. That said, this link will take you to several resources about the Governor's...
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The Senate passed HF 130, the budget proposal cutting $900 million in state spending. This was a fast turnaround following the House passage of the bill late on 2/9. The bill was sent to the Governor, and he vetoed the bill within a couple hours of receiving it. You can read coverage here, here and here. And the Governor's veto...
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House and Senate Conference Committee members worked fast to reach agreement on cuts of $1 billion dollars in state spending. As MPR News put it, "Child protection among losers in first round of budget cuts." The reductions to funding for Child and Community Service Assistance grants ($13.7 million a year, or 21%) have remained unchanged in recent weeks as the...
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The Minnesota Senate approved a first round of budget cuts today, including permanent reductions to the state's funding of the Child Protection System. Here's a quick bit of coverage. If you've been reading this blog, this is same bill we've been covering for the last couple weeks. The budget proposal passed the House (HF 130), now the Senate (SF 60)....
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It's looking very likely that the Senate will pass the proposed budget cuts to Child Welfare funding, part of the $1 billion budget cut proposed and passed by the House last week. So just what does a $13.6 million reduction mean for Minnesota's Child Welfare system? There are a few ways to look at this. Below is a basic overview...
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Where to begin? This was a fast-paced week for policy decisions impacting the Child Welfare field. So fast-paced that the Minnesota State Legislature's website couldn't even keep up with hearings, amendments, schedules and votes. Sources like MN Public Radio and the MN Budget Project have had up-to-date information and analysis. As noted in previous entries, the state's contribution to Child...
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HF 130, a bill that includes a 21% reduction to the Children and Community Services Assistance grants (the primary source of state funding for Child Protection services), passed the House in a close 68-63 vote yesterday. A floor vote on the companion bill in the Senate (SF 60) is anticipated on Monday, January 31. Tweet...
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You probably heard that Child Welfare (Child Protection) funds were included in the $1 billion spending cuts proposed by the legislature last week*. Maybe you also heard that HF 128 passed out of committee, and was referred to Ways and Means. This means that bill moved forward, but the action isn't done. Currently, three bills are bouncing around with the...
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On January 18th, legislators in the MN House and Senate introduced bills (HF 128, HF 130 and SF 60) that propose substantial cuts to Child Welfare funding in the state. State dollars are 15% of child welfare funding in Minnesota, and are mostly allocated through the Children and Community Services Act (CCSA). These bills propose a cut of $19 million...
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