Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Rural Minnesota lacks social workers to comply with immediate child abuse aid law

Rural counties in Minnesota lack enough trained professionals to meet state requirements that a child protection worker must take an abuse case within 24 hours, Don Davis reports for the Grand Forks Herald. About half of the state's 87 counties are unable to comply with state requirements, mainly because rural areas do not have social workers available nights and weekends, and rural law enforcement personnel are typically not trained in that capacity. (Minnesota Department of Health map)

"Lawmakers suggested that rural counties look into ways to keep trained social workers on call at all times, perhaps by working with neighboring counties," Davis writes. "New rules were expected to be in place Jan. 1 requiring counties to have that capability, but social workers said they will not be ready."

Carole Wilcox of the Human Services Department told a Legislative Task Force on Child Protection—which earlier this year approved extra money for around-the-clock child protection— that funds are needed, instead, "just to fund investigating an increasing number of abuse reports," Davis writes. "New guidelines governing the child protection process are due out Oct. 1 after public comments are heard." (Read more)

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