The Star Tribune obtained child protection records under two provisions in state law that are exceptions to the privacy of nearly all social services data. Counties are required to release limited information when children are killed or suffer a near fatal injury and criminal charges are filed in those cases. That law requires counties to release the number of child protection reports, how the agency responded, as well as the results of a mortality review panel in those cases.
The Star Tribune requested those records from more than 60 counties beginning in the spring of this year. The Star Tribune also requested over 100 petitions filed in juvenile court, in which counties allege that children need judicial protection from their caregivers. Those records often reveal a child protection history before the petition was filed.