Minnesota's counties received nearly 68,000 reports of child abuse or neglect last year but closed most of those cases without investigation or assessment, reports the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The number of child abuse reports screened out without any protective action rose last year to the third-highest rate in the country. In all, the state screened out more than 48,000 such abuse reports last year, often based on information from a phone call or a fax.
What happens to those cases is largely unknown. Records are not open to the public. Many counties also don't keep track of closed cases, potentially resulting in multiple reports of abuse of a child without intervention. A bill advancing through the Legislature would require counties to keep information on screened-out cases for a year to spot recurring child abuse. Red Lake County screened out nearly 93 percent of its cases last year, the highest in the state, taking in only three of the 41 child abuse complaints it received. Le Sueur County was second highest, rejecting 89 percent of the 453 abuse reports.