Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Yes Minnesota DOES have the money to implement the African-American Family Preservation Act

“We don’t have enough money to stop being racist!”

Well, no, county family police agencies in Minnesota (where counties run these systems) didn’t say it in those words.  But in this excellent story from Minnesota Public Radio that’s essentially the argument put forth by county family policing agencies opposing a new version of the Minnesota African American Family Preservation Act. 

That is just more b.s. 

Just as Minnesota takes away children at a rate nearly double the national average, Minnesota spends on child welfare at a rate even more than double the national average. And yes, NCCPR has an index to document that, too.  

In its own depressing way, this makes sense: The great paradox of “child welfare” is that the worse the option for children the more it costs.  Safe, proven approaches to keeping families together cost less than family foster homes, which cost less than group homes, which cost less than institutions.  So stop wasting all that money on needless foster care and you’ll have all you need to stop being racist. 

And there is nothing terribly complicated about implementing the African American Family Preservation Act.  Contrary to what some counties apparently are saying, workers don’t need vast amounts of “training” to know that if the family lacks adequate food, clothing, shelter and/or child care, they should provide the food, clothing, shelter and/or child care – and it will cost less than foster care. 

The counties don’t lack the money. They lack the will. 

For more context on Minnesota, see this NCCPR opinion column in The Imprint.