This article submitted by long time CASA guardian ad Litem Mike Tikkanen

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Today’s Star Tribune reporting by Chris Serres about County agencies stealing millions in Foster Child Benefits is one more sad reality fostered children face every day. Repurposing Federal Foster Care dollars have become a “revenue stream” for counties because taking foster child money goes “unnoticed” (from the article).

Because there are no rights for children, they have no voice in the system (they can’t sue when they are wronged). There is so little institutional transparency or meaningful reporting* to the community, wrongful behavior continues. Sometimes for decades.

In a perfect world, a County person would raise hell about repurposing foster child dollars (but they don’t because they could lose their job).

The sadness that caused this child to be in foster care should be enough for a County person to protect the child’s best interest. Instead, administrators make child unfriendly decisions, circle the wagons, and keep secret information that should be public.

No one will ever know about these internal institutional struggles. No one will hear from the child. Children don’t have access to information (or know what to do with it if they did) or a voice at the legislature, the media, or the homes they live in.

No baby or five-year-old living in a foster or group home will sue or call the County to beg for a better life.

No lawmaker will threaten their County for repurposing Federal money.

Chris Serres is the only one of 5.7 million Minnesotan’s that thought this

was important enough to write about today.


Across the nation in 2018, $165 million foster care dollars (that we know of) went to the wrong population of needy citizens.

We can blame County officials that made this happen or recognize that counties will always be faced with repurposing State and Federal dollars as they see fit because the safety net is spread so thin.

Children that have lost their parents and are placed in State Care have suffered terribly. They need our help for a chance to lead a productive life.

30 years of working with and for State Ward children has given this CASA volunteer guardian ad Litem a long list of crimes committed against defenseless, voiceless children.

Some will argue that the things I’ve seen done to these children are not crimes. If your neighbor committed these acts against your children, they would likely go to jail.

Let’s Stop Counties From Stealing money meant to help fostered youth;

Contact your State Representative and share this article with them

(find out who to contact here).

This will impact thousands of at-risk youths

for their entire lifetimes.

*Institutions almost always measure efficiency of staff and #’s of “clients” managed within the system – not outcomes of the children they care for.

We need to know about the people impacted, not the mundane measurement of phone calls, visits and staff miles travelled and reimbursements

Be a community voice for foster children. Read more about what it’s like to be a foster child below;

At the time of Eric Dean’s murder by his mother in MN, Child Protection workers were not allowed to  review prior histories of child abuse when investigating a families new abuse case and four MN screened out 90% of child abuse reports at the time.

No one knew of 6 year old foster child Kendrea Johnson’s suicidal statements prior to hanging herself

Michigan Governor Mitch Daniels repurposed funding (for healthcare, education and mental health) promised to families adopting special needs State Ward children (after the adoptions were completed).

Want more news about children in foster care? Search KARA’s site for foster care here