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Release: House Human Services Committee Approves Rep. Hollins’ Foster Care Legislation

Wednesday, March 03, 2021

 

Saint Paul, Minnesota — Yesterday, the House Human Services Finance and Policy Committee passed legislation authored by Representative Athena Hollins (DFL - Saint Paul) that modifies licensure and background studies for applications for family foster setting licenses. 

Rep. Hollins says the three main purposes of the bill are to bring foster care licensing standards more in line with adoption standards, remove barriers for BIPOC communities seeking licenses, and ensure the well-being of children in the foster care system. 

“It’s time for Minnesota to rethink how we license foster care providers. Family foster homes are not a business, and we need to regulate unsafe conditions with higher caregiving standards that prioritize the health and safety of children,” said Rep. Athena Hollins. “We know when children are safe and healthy, they show higher graduation rates, decreases in mental health disorders, and less overall trauma. All Minnesota children deserve to be cared for.” 

Rep. Hollins’ bill creates new disqualification criteria for individuals seeking a family foster license, and allows denial based on an applicant’s ability to safely care for children. It also requires the Department of Human Services commissioner to establish family foster setting licensing guidelines for county and private licensing agencies.

This bill is the result of years of hard work, negotiations and collaboration between many stakeholders. It strikes an appropriate balance between reconceptualizing unnecessary barriers and protecting our most valuable asset, our children. 

The House Human Services Finance and Policy Committee heard testimony from field experts Joanna Woolman, Alexis Oberdorfer, and Kate Rickord in support of the bill, which passed the committee with a bipartisan vote and was referred to the Judiciary Committee for further consideration. A recording of the hearing will be available on House Public Information Services’ YouTube channel. Documents and additional information will soon be available on the committee’s webpage.

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