Weather Forecast


Child protection given to 346 Wadena County kids in 2006

There were 346 Wadena County children whose families received a child protection assessment or services during 2006, according to the annual child protection report presented by Social Services Supervisor Jane Erckenbrack at the February board meeting.

The agency conducted 76 child protection assessments. Of those cases 41 were conducted as child protection investigations and 35 involved family assessments. The number of investigations is higher than the county would like to see, Erckenbrack said. Typically, social services would like 70 percent of the cases done by family assessment. A higher number of sexual abuse and threatened sexual abuse cases than usual contributed to the number of investigations, she said.

Family assessments are preferred over traditional investigations, Erckenbrack said. Family assessments build on families' strengths and are a more respectful approach to helping families.

In cases of egregious harm, however, the state mandates investigations to determine wrongdoing, she said. Investigations are also sometimes conducted after a number of family assessments have been done and the same issues keep coming up.

Last year, there were 26 new entries into foster care with 12 cases involving drug or alcohol use by the parents as a contributing factor to the abuse.

The total number of children in placement, including corrections, was 71. There were 34 discharges from placement with 23 reunifications with parents or a formally non-custodial parent, six reaching the age of majority, two permanent transfers to relatives and three impending adoptions.

Child protection allegations investigated in 2006:

• 42 chronic and severe use

of alcohol or other drugs

• 13 endangerment

• 25 inadequate supervision

• 3 mental injury

• 32 neglect

• 10 physical abuse

• 15 sexual abuse

• 1 threatened physical abuse

• 2 threatened sexual abuse