clay county commission
Three supervisors from Clay County Social Services’ child protection division updated the county commission on the numbers of children served in 2021 – a number commission chair Jenny Mongeau noted is substantially down from past years, but, she said, “still nothing to celebrate.”
The social services supervisors were on hand with their report as the commission proclaimed April Child Abuse Prevention Month. “Effective child abuse prevention succeeds becaue of meaningful and trusting partnerships,” the proclamation noted, “including parents, practitioners, schools, faith communities, health-care organizations, law enforcement agencies and the business community.”
Child protection supervisors Amy Amundson, Quinn Jaeger and Michelle Thordahl reported that 221 children are currently in out-of-home placement. That number includes 102 in foster care as well as 119 on probation and in treatment who are also counted in the total.
According to the supervisors, Clay County Social Services completed 396 assessments and investigations, some of families and others at licensed facilities. Allegations of child abuse or neglect pf 455 children were investigated. Child protection management was provided for 207 families and child welfare case management for 79.
Lack of foster homes is a perennial problem, commissioners learned. Other complications to providing services include continued staff turnover and what one called “a significant increase in child and parent mental health issues.”
Thirty-four children were reunified with their families. When reunification was not achieved, six were transferred into the custody of relatives and 18 were adopted.
Commissioner David Ebinger commented, “When I cam to Moorhead as police chief, I was surprised at the amount of child abuse here. I just want to thank you” – addressing the Child Protective Services staffers – “for helping these children find a place to land. This is a reminder that we need to watch not only our own kids, but for the other kids around us.
“Thank you for your efforts. I know this work can be frustrating, but also very rewarding.”
Commissioner Kevin Campbell acknowledged the difficulty of separating children from their families in cases where it’s necessary for the youngster’s welfare.