Increases in children in out-of-home care
More children are in the foster care system in Minnesota. The number of children in care on Oct. 1 of the year has gone up 43 percent between 2014 and 2018. While some children are in the system to address their mental health concerns and juvenile correctional issues, most of the children are there because they have been abused and/or neglected, and need safe and nurturing homes until they can return safely home to their birth parents or to another permanent home. Removals as a result of challenges with chemical dependency have seen an especially large increase – the number of children in care on Oct. 1 who were removed as a result of parental drug abuse has risen 118 percent from 2014 to 2018. A disproportionate number of African American and American Indian children are in foster care.
During this time, the availability of foster parents is critical. The upswing in the number of children in foster care puts more stress on every county’s capacity to provide safe, nurturing environments that children need. Counties need more Minnesotans to become foster parents.