Lawsuit: Hennepin Co. child protection system fails to protect kids

A lawsuit alleges Hennepin County fails to properly investigate reports of abuse and neglect and does not safely house children in protective custody.

The federal suit on behalf of 10 children alleges systematic failures within Hennepin County's child protection services.

"What we hope to accomplish is to reform the system," said Marcia Lowry, executive director of the New York-based advocacy group A Better Childhood, which announced the litigation. "We are not seeking money damages. We are seeking to turn this into a class action and to present evidence (that) children are, in fact, subject to harm."

Lowry said the county system is underfunded and authorities are falling short on their responsibilities and putting kids at risk. The suit also names state agencies.

"With regard to the abuse and neglect investigations, the investigations are inadequate, there are no services that are offered to the families and then when children get taken into the foster care system there are way too few places for the children to stay," Lowry added.

While county officials won't comment on the lawsuit, they say they are committed to child well-being and that they've spent several years investing in system improvements.

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