Dayton signs bill bolstering child-protection

Published 10:12 am Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Amazi, other proponents: Bill is just first step

ST. PAUL — Gov. Mark Dayton and lawmakers have strengthened Minnesota’s child-protection system, and further changes could be on the way.

The Democrat signed a bill Tuesday allowing social workers to consider past reports of child abuse when deciding whether to investigate new ones. It also makes clear that child safety is the most important factor in decision-making on claims of abuse of minors, not keeping families together.

A task force Dayton created — which Mower County Sheriff Terese Amazi served on — recommended the changes and has since laid out other possible tweaks to Minnesota’s system. Those include automatically investigating reports of medical neglect and abandonment.

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A Star Tribune report last year of a repeatedly abused boy killed by his stepmother in 2013 increased attention to Minnesota’s child-protection system. The bill signed Tuesday had unanimous support in the House and Senate.

Amazi and several proponents of child protection reform have said the bill is just the beginning.

“We’ve definitely got a lot more to do,” Amazi told the Herald last month.