Yesterday advocates from A Better Childhood (ABC) filed a class action lawsuit alleging that Hennepin County and Department of Human Services (DHS) child welfare programs are in “chaos”.
We hoped this day wouldn’t come. Typically these lawsuits take 16 years to conclude. Any improvements under consideration are usually put on hold while lawyers negotiate, so little happens until the last two years.
Ironically, Hennepin County is already implementing the remedies ABC will likely propose.
DHS however has resisted program reforms, and the legislature never funded child protection and foster care adequately. The $26M increase they approved recently replaced earlier staff cuts, but didn’t address subsequent caseload growth or restore support services.
We urge Minnesota and Hennepin County to settle quickly so the system isn’t frozen in place for a generation.