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Brandon Stahl - MN Reports On Child Abuse

For many months now, the Star Tribune’s intrepid reporter Brandon Stahl has been researching and writing about the depth and scope of problems facing MN’s abused and neglected children. 

This page is dedicated to Brandon’s work and the thousands of children that pass through child protection services each year in MN (and the thousands of abused/traumatized children that need help but are ignored).


Most of the disturbing information Brandon uncovered in his reporting is hidden and would never have been known without his persistence and hard work.  Our child protection systems are practiced in not making information easy to find.


I have spent many years as a volunteer in the field of child protection looking for this kind of information and been unable to discover even a fraction of what Brandon Stahl has made public by his reporting.


This CASA guardian ad-Litem is cautiously optimistic that Governor Dayton (and other public figures) are speaking out* about the lack of public awareness, poor public policy, and resulting institutional failures that are ruining so many lives and so directly contributing to trouble in our schools and on our streets (and the racial disparity this state is so well known for).


For the first time in my memory, the important issues of child abuse and child protection have become serious front page news and there is a possibility that Governor Dayton’s task force will ultimately bring about critical changes needed to improve the lives of children born into toxic homes.


Below are my observations on each article and a clickable list of everything to date (that I could find) written by Brandon Stahl on child protection and child abuse. 


Save  and Share this page with your friends, social workers, educators, adoptive and foster families, and others that work with at risk youth.


KARA has interviewed Brandon for our documentary project and will post pieces of that video interview as soon as it is edited.


*Governor Dayton’s “colossal failure” remark about the public policies that led to the death of Eric Dean and Judge Ranum’s “sickened” by abuse program’s failures comment to name a few.


Here are Brandon’s Articles to date (compiled for easy access)


Lessons from child abuse deaths go unheeded in Minnesota

The deaths of 56 children from maltreatment in Minnesota since 2005 should guide changes in child protection. How our institutions fail children.

Interactive graphic: Children failed by the system

The Star Tribune identified 56 children since 2005 who died from maltreatment in Minnesota, even though they or their caregivers…


Child advocates fault state protection program

“Family assessment” fail victims of serious abuse (Counties without accountability and 20,000 high risk children left without help).


Minnesota Poll: Child protection gets passing grade

What do MN residents know about child protection services?  Who are we protecting?


Front-line workers detail child protection challenges

Why report and report and report when nothing is done?  Feelings of helplessness from the police on down (four MN counties screen out 90% of child abuse reports/state average screens out 71%)

Why the reluctance to investigate child abuse in MN (overall screen out rate 71%/four counties screen out 90% of child abuse reports – Eric Dean was screened out 14 times)?Updated: October 14, 2014, – 06:17 AM

Hennepin County judge ‘sickened’ by abuse program’s failures

Counties investigated seven percent of abuse reports in MN last year. Judge Ranum “Kids are slowly being neglected to death…the system is worse than it ever was”.

April 21: Counties ‘screen out’ most child abuse reports

MN screens out more child abuse reports than 47 other states.  Red Lake County screens out 93%, Houston County screened out 95%   Counties set their own threshold of abuse – Child death seems to be the threshold in Red Lake and Houston Counties.


How family assessment failed Key’Ontay Miller-Peterson

Over and over, family members and day-care providers reported that Key’Ontay Miller-Peterson was being beaten to death at four years old.


Lawmakers: Child-protection system failed Eric Dean

Legislators in both parties insist that child protection must do a better job.

Updated: September 04, 2014, – 12:12 AM

Eric Dean: The boy they couldn’t save

Special report: On 15 occasions, day-care workers and others told Pope County’s child-protection agency they suspected Eric Dean was being hurt. But it was not enough.

Updated: September 01, 2014, – 02:38 PM

Timeline: The life and death of Eric Dean

Pope County child protection services ignored fourteen reports of child abuse prior to Eric Dean’s death


Aug. 20: Hennepin County knew since 1993 of abuse, neglect allegations vs. Mpls. couple

Nine children removed from unfit parents prior to their newborn’s death.


Dayton makes appointments to child abuse task force

Sealed child protections records “a breeding grounds for problems…lack of transparency” Former MN Supreme Court Chief Justice Kathleen Blatz.  Overwhelmed child protection workers, lack of funding, lack of support make life dangerous for abused and neglected children.


Sept. 23: Gov. Dayton acts to step up response to child protection 

County Commissioner Toni Carter defends current system

Hennepin County seeks protection for Adrian Peterson’s son

Would never have made the paper without the prior reporting on the death of Eric Dean by Brandon Stahl.


Minnesota law says child protection must investigate 

Assessment vs investigation (why assessment doesn’t work in serious cases and why only “over the top” cases make it into child protection in MN)


Minnesota to review child protection after ‘colossal failure’

Governor Dayton, Pope County “…colossal failure…inexusably and immorally negligent” in the death of Eric Dean

Sept. 9: DHS wants to scrap just-passed law on child protection

Law forbids using past abuse reports when investigating new child abuse cases (the making of this law was a criminal act?)


Golden Valley girl removed from home amid ‘shocking’ neglect

“biohazard… urine, bites from herding feral cats” prostitution upstairs – nine years old

Maple Grove woman who drove car into pond faces child neglect allegations



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  • invisible children picture web 11.09-001

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