Written By Daniel Heimpel
In 2000, Minnesota launched a pilot for its now statewide differential response (DR) program. DR is a popular child protection strategy with mixed results, in which help is offered to abusive or neglectful parents, but rarely forced upon them.
More than seven of every ten “screened-in” cases of abuse and neglect in Minnesota were placed on the “family assessment” track, according to the Department of Human Services’ (DHS) website.
But the state’s 71 percent diversion to DR appears to reflect the desire of DHS administrators more than it does the decisions and policies of local child welfare leaders. The Chronicle of Social Change has learned that DHS expected each of Minnesota’s 87 counties to place 70 percent of screened-in cases on the DR track….
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