Minnesota’s foster system, kids go from bad to worse

Brandon Stahl:

Minnesota’s foster care system is falling short of state and federal standards meant to ensure that abused children are placed into stable and permanent homes, a Star Tribune review of state records has found.

Those records reveal that too many abused foster children in Minnesota are returned to their parents too quickly, suffer more maltreatment and end up back in foster care. Thousands of children have been further traumatized by being shuttled among numerous foster homes as they wait, sometimes in vain, for adoption, state records show.

As the number of foster children has grown to more than 11,000, fewer families are signing on as foster parents, records show. That problem could intensify, as a child protection task force formed by Gov. Mark Dayton recommended on Monday numerous reforms that will likely see more children removed from abusive homes.

“I don’t think we’re ready for that increase,” Robert O’Connor, a member of the task force and a social work professor at Metropolitan State University, said after reviewing the data compiled by the Star Tribune.