African American Family Preservation Act
Too often in Minnesota do African American families find themselves at the mercy of a court system they know little about, and in turn shows minimal effort to help them,” said Rep. Agbaje, the bill's House Author. “African American children are removed from their homes three times more often than their white counterparts. Instead of jumping to arbitrary child removal, this legislation would change our system to focus on strengthening families while always putting the best interest of the child first. In addressing these disparities, we promote united, healthy families, which are a tremendous benefit for Minnesota.”
KEY PROVISIONS OF AAPA
2021 Legislative session links
The Minnesota African American Family Preservation Act would (1) protect the best interests of African American children and (2) promote the stability and security of African American families by establishing minimum standards to prevent arbitrary and unnecessary removal of African American children from their families.
A local social services agency shall make active efforts to prevent out-of-home placement of an African American child, eliminate the need for a child's removal from the home, and reunify a child and family as soon as practicable...
Prior to an African American child's placement in foster care, the responsible local social services agency must make active efforts to identify and locate the child's relatives and the noncustodial or non-adjudicated parent and notify them of the need for a foster home for the child and provide them with a list of legal resources...
The commissioner of human services shall modify existing practices related to visitation after an African American child is placed in out-of-home placement. Visitation with the child's parent or guardian must be increased...
A court shall not terminate the parental rights of an African American parent based solely on that parent's failure to complete case plan requirements...
An African American parent whose parental rights have been terminated may appeal the decision within 60 days of the service of notice...
An African American parent, an African American child who is ten years of age or older, a local social services agency, or guardian ad litem may file a petition for the reestablishment of the legal parent and child relationship (regardless of the age of the child or their length of time in foster care)...
The Act would work to address disparities at every decision point of the child protection process while providing oversight and accountability to the child protection workforce.
The perpetual clogging of our child protection system with children that are not at risk of harm has exhausted the state’s resources. Lending to case worker over- load, a significant decrease in foster home availability and a nonsensical increase in state spending while leaving children truly in need of protection, vulnerable and at risk.
We all know that healthy families are vital to the success of our children and ultimately, our state. Everyone has a stake in ensuring Minnesota’s Child Protection system is fair and equitable. Help us address these racial disparities and the injustice faced by these families through your support of the African American Family Preservation Act.
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