(Minnesota) 10 Children File Class Action Lawsuit After Child Protection System Fails to Keep Them Safe

(May 31, 2017) A civil rights class action lawsuit has been filed in U.S. District Court against Hennepin County and several Hennepin County and State of Minnesota officials implementing its child protective system and the Minnesota Department of Human Services for its failures and actions that caused further harm to children under its care.

Read the lawsuit here: T.F. v Hennepin County

FOR UPDATES ON THIS DEVELOPING STORY PLZ VISIT PACER: https://www.pacermonitor.com/public/case/21575623/TF_et_al_v_Hennepin_County_et_al

The lawsuit is known as T.F. v Hennepin County. According to the lawsuit, “Hennepin County is failing to live up to its responsibilities, and Defendants have long been aware that its child protection system has devolved into a confusing, underfunded, and erratic system that inflicts harm on the children it serves on a widespread and measurable basis.” (p.3) Research suggests that Hennepin County’s child protective system may be the most deficient in the nation.

The lawsuit is filed on behalf of 10 minor children (p. 5-6). The lawsuit defends two classes of children “who are or will be the subject of reports of suspected child abuse or neglect made to Hennepin County, who are or will be under the protective supervision of, or in the custody of Hennepin County, or who are under the guardianship of the Commissioner of Human Services”.

The children are represented by Faegre Baker Daniels LLP, with a team headed by James L. Volling; Marcia Robinson Lowry, executive director A Better Childhood (ABC) a non-profit dedicated to reforming child welfare systems across the country and Eric Heckler, a New York civil rights litigator.

The sad stories of these children ages 4 to 14 years old are detailed in the lawsuit on pages 12-43. Several of the children have been physically harmed in foster care, all have been traumatized, and none of the children have been placed in a safe, permanent home.

The lawsuit alleges that the Hennepin County child protective system is failing children in the following ways:

  • Failed to properly investigate reports of child abuse or neglect
  • Failed to provide appropriate services to children and their families
  • Failed to provide safe and appropriate foster care placements for children.
  • When removed from homes, children often hang in limbo in shelter care or emergency shelters and/or poorly managed or dangerous group homes and foster homes. This is traumatic for children, and is destabilizing.
  • Failed to provide safe, secure permanent homes for children who can’t be returned to their own homes
  • Many children are returned to unsafe home environments where they are re-abused, and then re-enter the system. An even higher percentage of children re-enter foster care in Hennepin County after having been reunited with their parents. Research shows that in 2016, 16.2% of children re-entered foster care within 12 months of leaving, this re-entry rate is nearly double the federal standard, which is 8.3%.
  • Hennepin County has failed to find permanent homes for children who are placed for adoption they linger in the system for years as wards of the state or age out of the system without ever have found permanent placement.
  • Case workers lack adequate training or support needed to carry out their responsibilities. Further, case workers are assigned to caseloads in excess of national standards and do not have desks to which they are regularly assigned to work. Generally, morale is low and turnover is high.
  • Hennepin County screens out or fails to properly investigate far too many reports of abuse or neglect of children.
  • Investigation and assessments are incomplete or poor quality.

As a result of these failures, the lawsuit claims, the health, safety and well-being of children is endangered. Basically a child who is taken into state care faces a fate that is no better than the abuse and neglect they have been removed from.

Similar sentiments were echoed by CPS Whistleblower, Carlos Morales who is a former Texas CPS investigator. Morales says, “…in foster homes you have a way higher chance of being raped, molested, abused and killed than you do in an actual home where you are already being abused…what I found is that the situations we removed them from were not more helpful…” Morales is careful to note that not every foster home is bad and not every foster parent is bad but the system as a whole is failing children, and families. Morales says that financial incentives increase the odds of corruption occurring within CPS. Morales also says that incentives promote labeling children with psychiatric diagnosis and drugging them rather than offering any real understanding, support or care for the children.

In a troubling essay titled “I’m Guilty of Child Kidnapping for the State” Morales further elaborates: “I’m guilty of working for an organization that has hampered freedom throughout the United States, and has caused millions of parents to live in fear. I’m guilty of working for an agency that has done more to carry out the war on drugs than the war against child abuse. I’m guilty of working for an agency that has kidnapped children, thrown them in to foster homes, and destroyed their lives. I’m guilty of working for CPS. Within CPS, I did not help children, I hurt. I did not protect families, I helped ruin them. I did not work to benefit society, instead I helped imprison it. I’m Guilty of Child Kidnapping for the State

The lawsuit asks the District Court to certify the case as a class action on behalf of the children and to find that the defendants have violated these children’s constitutional, federal and state law rights. Improvements to the child protection system are also offered in the request for relief (p. 88-91).


Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Hennepin County Over Child Protection (KSTP News)


A Better Childhood

About EJ

Parenting Abused Kids (PAK) reflects the personal thoughts and opinions of "EJ" sharing her experiences of surviving domestic abuse and injustice in family court. PAK also includes news and informational articles about abuse and family court issues. The purpose of PAK is to raise awareness of the challenges domestic abuse survivors to rebuild their lives after experiencing domestic abuse, compounded with the struggles of ongoing family court litigation. PAK will also discuss and raise awareness about issues related to parenting children who have been abused, and often present with emotional and behavioral problems. Parenting Abused Kids is not affiliated with any professional group, political group, organization or religious affiliation. My sincere love and support goes out to abuse survivors and their children. I am so sorry for what you have endured, and pray your lives will be filled with the happiness you so deserve. Thank-you for visiting!
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1 Response to (Minnesota) 10 Children File Class Action Lawsuit After Child Protection System Fails to Keep Them Safe

  1. Edith says:

    I filed a Child Protection report for my three year old granddaughter who told several people that J was hitting on her J is her mothers new boyfriend who is also a gang member who threatened to have me killed when the mother found out about CPS her aunt whom is a foster care mother in Hayfield told my granddaughters mother to bring my granddaughter to her home since CPS was looking to talk to her. The mother took my granddaughter to Hayfield without even talking to myself her paternal grandmother or her biological father. We have tried several time to communicate the the Aunt to talk to the baby but was told her mother has Sole Legal custody of my granddaughter and said no one can speak to her without the mothers permition I thought Sole Legal custody ment you are with your child looking out for the best interest of her mental stability happiness and Love but the mother dropped my granddaughter off at the Aunts house and returned to Minneapolis. She knows that my granddaughter loves her father with all her heart she even told her mother at 3 years old that she did not want to be with her she wanted to be with her daddy but child protection said she could leave my granddaughter at her aunts house that she is not comfortable at until the mother gets stable on her feet, I think it is sad that she did not even speak to the father regarding what was best for there daughter even though she was always with her dad going to Doctor appointment to the park constant interaction from her dad she was never ignored she is crazy about her Ganny as she calls me. I askedCPS to bring her in a room with her father mother and myself and she would run to us why is it that won’t listen to this very beautiful strong spirited three year old who knows what she wants? ? My heart is truly broken I just want to see hold ans kiss my granddaughter as well as her father being miserable since the mother took her away.The mother is not even with the baby so bring her back to the home that she loves. Broken hearted they say that Minnesota is a women’s State but a women don’t make a child on her own and when you have a father that want to be apart of his daughters life everyday why should he be prohibited to do so ? Any suggestions would ease my heart. Thank you


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