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Family preservation conference committee finds quick agreement

Protections intended to keep more Minnesota families together took another step toward becoming law Friday evening when a conference committee on the proposed “Minnesota African American Family Preservation and Child Welfare Disproportionality Act” reached quick agreement.

Senate President Bobby Joe Champion (DFL-Mpls), who co-chaired the committee and sponsored HF912/SF716* with Rep. Esther Agbaje (DFL-Mpls), opened the meeting by telling members the House and Senate versions of the bill were already very close to one another.

Little more than 15 minutes later the six conferees adopted the agreement and instructed staff to prepare a conference committee report that will be sent back to both bodies for a final vote.

The report is nearly the same as the bill House members passed Wednesday by a vote of 120-0, although conferees did adopt additional appropriations not included in the House version. They are:

  • $2.37 million in fiscal year 2025 for the Department of Human Services to implement the act, followed by a base appropriation of $3.25 million in 2026 and $3.11 million in 2027; and
  • $1 million to DHS for a grant program.

Champion said the implementation date for Hennepin and Ramsey counties, which will begin to phase the program in before it is rolled out statewide, was also moved back in the agreement — until January 2025, another change from the House bill. 

“It’s been a long road for us to get here,” Agbaje said. “This is a really strong important bill, particularly for African Americans, but also for other disproportionately impacted families to ensure that their children get to stay with them.”


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