Minnesota’s American Indian/Alaska Native Children in Out-of-Home Placement

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Minnesota’s American Indian/Alaska Native Children in Out-of-Home Placement

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In 2017, 11% of American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) children in Minnesota were in out-of-home care (OHC); this is the highest rate in the nation by a wide margin. While the rates of placements for AI/AN children are 17 times higher than for non-Hispanic white children in the state, the reasons for placements across all races/ethnicities are similar; parental substance use and neglect are the leading reasons identified for out-of-home placement for all groups of children in Minnesota. However, AI/AN children are much more likely to be placed in out-of-home care at very young ages; one-third of all AI/AN children under age 1 in the state were in out-of-home care in 2016. We find that 80% of AI/AN children in OHC are in 7 geographic areas: 5 counties (Beltrami, Hennepin, Ramsey, St. Louis, and Mille Lacs) and 2 Initiative tribes (White Earth and Leech Lake) who manage social services for their tribe. The total state cost of OHC is $164,509,869; and 20% of this total is spent on AI/AN children. While the state is engaged in a number of efforts to decrease this startling disparity, further research is needed to understand the underlying causes and possible solutions.


Capstone paper for the fulfillment of the Master of Public Affairs degree.

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Droneck Fink, Jennifer; Florman, Sarah; Zulu-Gillespie, Makeda. (2018). Minnesota’s American Indian/Alaska Native Children in Out-of-Home Placement. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy, https://hdl.handle.net/11299/208496.

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