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Legislative Audit Commission


January 13, 1998

The meeting of the Legislative Audit Commission was called to order by Senator Deanna Wiener on Tuesday, January 13, 1998 at 10:15 a.m.

Members present:

Representative Lynda Boudreau Senator William Belanger, Jr.
Representative Mindy Greiling Senator Sheila Kiscaden
Representative Mark Holsten Senator David Knutson
Representative Philip Krinkie Senator Keith Langseth
Representative Bill Macklin Senator Thomas Neuville
Representative Dan McElroy Senator Pat Pariseau
Senator Deanna Wiener

Members not present:

Representative Edwina Garcia Senator James Metzen
Representative Kris Hasskamp Senator Ember Reichgott Junge
Representative Mary Jo McGuire Senator Allan Spear
Representative Ann H. Rest


Senator Wiener indicated the purpose of the meeting was to review the program evaluation report on Child Protective Services, and recognized Roger Brooks, Deputy Legislative Auditor for Program Evaluation. Mr. Brooks explained why the study had been conducted and gave a brief overview of the findings and conclusions contained in the report.

Mr. Brooks introduced Joel Alter, project manager for the study. Mr. Alter reviewed the issues that were examined, explained the research methods used and presented a history of child protective services in Minnesota. He reviewed the findings, conclusions and recommendations contained in the study and answered questions from members.

Senator Wiener recognized Erin Sullivan-Sutton, Director of the Family and Children’s Services Division in the Department of Human Services. Ms. Sullivan-Sutton indicated that her department welcomed the report and that it confirmed concerns they had about the program. She indicated that the department was in the process of upgrading its data systems in order to better track cases reported by counties, upgrading its training for new caseworkers and that they favored opening up child protection hearings and mortality reviews. Ms. Sullivan-Sutton answered questions from members.

Senator Wiener indicated the report would be distributed to legislative committees that were concerned about child protection issues. Senator Pariseau suggested that another evaluation be conducted in two years. Senator Krinkie suggested the Commission review the report with county commissioners. Mr. Alter answered several additional questions concerning the different procedures used by counties in making a determination on whether or not to investigate allegations of child abuse or neglect.

Senator Wiener asked that Program Evaluation Division staff prepare a report card of action taken by the Legislature and agencies on recommendations contained in evaluation reports. Mr. Brooks indicated that the division follows up with agencies six to nine months after a report is issued and that agency responses could be distributed more widely in the future.

The meeting adjourned at 11:45 a.m.

Senator Deanna Wiener, Chair

Jean Barnhill, Recording Secretary


Office of the Legislative Auditor ♦ Room 140, 658 Cedar St., St. Paul, MN 55155