Task Force to Make Recommendations on Improving Child Protection System

February 14, 2017 07:53 PM

A task force created to improve child protection in Minnesota meets Friday to make its first recommendations.

The meeting comes just after the death of a 23-month-old boy in Brooklyn Park. Kazerion Raeline Harper’s death was ruled a homicide due to blunt-force injuries, and his father, 23-year-old Reggie Harper, has been arrested on suspicion of homicide.


Records show Harper was reported to child protection services at least three times for child abuse. He also has an extensive criminal record that includes domestic assault, disorderly conduct and drug possession.

Gov. Mark Dayton formed the 26-member task force this fall as a direct response to failures in the Child Protection System. The task force was created after the death of four-year-old Eric Dean, who was killed last year after slipping through the cracks in the state’s system; there were 15 reports of child abuse filed on Eric’s behalf, but only one was investigated.

In September, Dayton announced sweeping reform, including monthly random reviews of county child protection screening decisions. He also set up an expert and peer support system for county workers who have to make tough judgment calls on cases.

The task force has until the end of December to make its first set of recommendations to the governor and Minnesota Legislature on improvements to the system.

The meeting takes place from 9 a.m. to noon Friday at the State Office Building.


Jennie Olson

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