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Continued: April 21: Counties 'screen out' most child abuse reports

  • Article by: BRANDON STAHL , Star Tribune
  • Last update: August 30, 2014 - 10:13 PM

Voluntary assistance

After screening out a report, counties can refer families to voluntary Parent Support Outreach Programs, which began in 38 Minnesota counties in 2005 and have since spread statewide. About 50 percent of families referred to the programs choose to participate, according to DHS.

Joan Najbar, who works with a Twin Cities-based PSOP, worries that counties too often turn to these programs, which she said can be an inappropriate response to children in danger.

“Most Minnesotans assume we have systems in place to help families and keep kids safe,” Najbar said. “We don’t.”

Najbar said Isanti County asked her in February to work with a family that it declined to investigate. Family members reported that the caregiver was drinking daily, kept firearms in his home, and became psychotic and heard voices telling him to kill people when he got drunk, Najbar said.

Najbar said she refused to take the case and asked the county to reconsider its decision to screen out the case. She doesn’t know what has happened to the family since then.

 

Brandon Stahl • 612-673-4626

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