A City Pages profile of juvenile court in Anoka County, Minn., concludes that the controlled bedlam found there is “part and parcel of a larger crisis in the state’s child protection system.” Minnesota removes more children from their homes per capita than any other state in the country. And the number never reunited with their parents has ballooned.
In 2001, Minnesota enacted a law designed to reduce the length of time that kids who land in the system have to spend in legal limbo, buffeted by the periodic and wrenching upheaval of moving from one home to another without any assurance as to when, or if, they might return home. The new rules essentially require courts to hurry up and determine–within 6 months or 12, depending mainly on the child’s age–whether children should be taken from a home permanently. The paper considers whether justice is served by that system, especially for the children involved.