Last year an outside review of Hennepin County’s child welfare program criticized management’s treatment of staff, and raised questions about both low rates of responding to maltreatment reports and high rates of repeat abuse.
Since then the County Board has authorized 120 additional caseworkers and supported numerous management initiatives, including:
- Extended training and mentoring for new staff
- A new management position to coordinate county departments’ responses to children
- A new unit dedicated to chronic neglect casesHennepin County’s child welfare
- Outreach to community groups
- Child care scholarships for children in foster care
We still have concerns about certain practices, including those that impede fact-finding and hinder workers’ ability to assess child safety. But the County’s willingness to add resources, make challenging organizational changes, and try new ideas is an example for the whole state.