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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Esther Agbaje (DFL)

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African American Family Preservation Act and Child Welfare Disproportionality Act passed in the Minnesota House of Representatives

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

SAINT PAUL, Minn. - Today, the Minnesota House of Representatives passed HF 912, authored by Rep. Esther Agbaje (DFL – Minneapolis) on a unanimous 129-0 bipartisan vote. The bill establishes a social services agency and court requirements for African Americans and other disproportionately represented children in the child protection system.  

The legislation seeks to promote family stability by establishing minimum standards to prevent the arbitrary removal of children from their families and improve permanency outcomes, including family reunification. The law would be implemented in Hennepin and Ramsey Counties first, to gather valuable feedback before expanding it statewide. 

"Today's passage of the bill marks the culmination of a long and hard-fought battle," said Rep. Esther Agbaje. "This landmark legislation acknowledges the complex challenges we face in our child welfare programs and underscores the need for continued work and commitment from society to address the root causes of these disparities. All Minnesotan families deserve the right and dignity to care for their children and keep them in their kin and community to prevent further trauma and separation. Through enacting safeguards and prioritizing reunification efforts, we invest not only in the safety of our most vulnerable but also in the future strength and resilience of our communities." 

Both the House and Senate bills addressing racial disparities in the child protection system have cleared their respective chambers. Now, a conference committee will be formed to reconcile any differences and finalize the legislation. 

Video of the House Floor session can be found on the House Info YouTube Page.