More needs to be done to reduce child abuse

More needs to be done to reduce child abuse

Minnesota has experienced a horrific parade of violence against children in recent years. Just last week, we learned of the death of Sophia O’Neill, age 2, of Minneapolis, stomped to death allegedly by her mother’s boyfriend, age 17.

The disappearance of Barway Collins, of Crystal in March captivated the state until his body was found and his father was charged with his murder.

The murder of Pope County’s Eric Dean, age 4, after 15 reports to the county of possible abuse went unaddressed, caused the Legislature to act.

And coming out in a trickle have been years of pedophile attacks by Roman Catholic priests, of which 179 in Minnesota alone have been accused.

It is easy to become angry at the accused and the convicted, to send them to prison and pretend that we have accomplished something. However, we have a major public health issue confronting us, and are nowhere close to solving it. The reported crimes are just the tip of the iceberg. …

n the wake of Eric Dean’s death, Gov. Mark Dayton formed a task force to review the state’s child protection efforts. It returned with 93 recommendations.

The Legislature responded by enacting several changes:

• Law enforcement must now review every report of alleged child abuse, even if the report was received initially by social services.

• A provision that kept child protection teams from looking at previously screened out reports was repealed.

• The priority for action was changed from keeping a family together to putting the safety of the child foremost.

• An additional $52 million was appropriated, most of which will go directly to hire more child protection workers. Currently, the caselo


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