“This child protection system cannot be created overnight. It must evolve. And it cannot evolve without additional resources, training, and workforce adjustments…There must be ongoing dialogue between DHS, counties, field experts, key stakeholders and legislators so that child protection reform can be an ongoing process.” – Governor’s Task Force on the Protection of Children Final Report and Recommendations (March 2015)
A recent incident in St. Paul suggests there is still much work to be done to reform CPS… CPS officials went to a school to take a child into custody, and made a mistake, which resulted in taking the wrong child.
Read Full Story: Wrong 5-year-old boy pulled out of school by child protection services in St. Paul
On January 8th, 2016, CPS workers showed up at Frost Lake elementary school to pick up a child. After conferring with school officials, 5 year old Avante W. was called down to the office where he was greeted by CPS, who removed the him from school. The CPS workers traveled a number of miles, with Avante in the car, to go to another school to pick up the boy’s brother. The problem? CPS removed the WRONG child from school.
Incredibly, CPS never detected the error. Instead, the brother identified the child in the car – Avante W. – and alerted workers that this was not his brother. It took CPS workers 45 minutes to return Avante W. to school. There has been nothing reported on what happened to the child who was meant to be taken into custody.
Rebecca Williams, Avante’s mom, says “the damage has been done“, and that Avante was hurt by the actions of CPS. Ms. Williams was also distressed to learn that her child was wrongly taken, and driving around in a car, with a stranger, and that during that time she did not know where he was.
School officials have apologized for the incident. When Fox 9 contacted CPS officials about the incident, “Ramsey County Child Protective Services declined to acknowledge the case existed or a mistake had been made.”
In October 2014, in response to the tragic death of Eric Dean, Governor Dayton created the Task Force on the Protection of Children to make recommendations on how to improve Minnesota’s troubled CPS system.
Eric Dean, age 4, was killed by his step-mother, Amanda Peltier, after CPS failed to take action to protect Eric despite multiple reports of abuse, which included bruises, bite marks, a black eye and a broken arm. Eric was also reporting abuse to school and daycare workers. In all, there were 15 maltreatment reports made to CPS before Eric’s death. Critics argued that Eric’s death could have been prevented if CPS had taken the maltreatment reports seriously, and had acted to protect the child from the abuse that was happening.
In March 2015, the Task Force issued 93 recommendations to improve CPS policies and make the system more “child focused.” Governor’s Task Force on the Protection of Children Final Report and Recommendations March 2015
The work of the Task Force, and it’s 3 work groups, still continues. The Task Force holds regular meetings in which the public is invited to attend, and provide testimony. You can learn about upcoming meetings, hear audio from previous meetings, and learn more at: Legislative Task Force on Child Protection Meetings
Stories like this make me so mad!
WCVB Channel 5 Boston reported that a similar incident happened in Nov 2014, when DCF pulled signed the wrong child out of class, and took him out of school.. the boy complained to the worker and was returned to his parents.
See story on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQYJ5E9QEOY