SAINT PAUL – On Thursday, the Minnesota House of Representatives approved Rep. Ron Kresha’s, R-Little Falls, foster care bill (HF1702) on a unanimous vote of 130-0. The bill, called McKenna’s Law, allows children who are over ten years old and in foster care to be appointed counsel in juvenile proceedings.
“Children in foster care are at a very vulnerable point in their young lives, and deserve their own legal representation,” said Kresha. “When digging into this issue, we found a number of instances where juveniles in foster care were facing legal challenges on their own, without any legal counsel whatsoever. That can’t happen.”
A main driver of the legislation and inspiration for the bill’s title was 12-year-old McKenna Ahrenholz who faced a situation where she fought for a year to receive legal representation.
“McKenna’s heartbreaking story shows us that we need this legislation,” said Kresha. “Here we have an abused, neglected child who should have an objective legal voice to help them through this difficult system.”
Now passed by the House, the bill heads to the Senate.