House Passes Bill Ensuring Voice for Foster Children

April 27, 2017 06:32 PM

For years, McKenna Ahrenholz and her siblings were forced to shuffle between foster homes, and, worse, their actual homes.

Despite help from social workers and a guardian ad litem, McKenna was unaware she was entitled to her own lawyer under state law, someone who could ensure her voice was heard. Now, that’s about to change.


A bill that would ensure children in the foster system get access to a lawyer passed the Minnesota House unanimously Thursday.

“When all the lights turned green, I’m just like, I was so proud, and I’m like so happy,” McKenna said.

RELATED: State Lawmakers Move Forward on Bill Aimed at Giving Foster Children a Voice 

One of the bill’s authors, Rep. Ron Kresha, R-Little Falls, said McKenna inspired him.

“She certainly restored my faith in humanity,” he said.

The bill stemmed in part from a 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS investigation featuring McKenna that found examples of juvenile victims forced to fend for themselves, despite state law saying they’re entitled to a lawyer.

McKenna fought for a year before eventually getting a lawyer, and today lives happily with her siblings and grandparents. She took action at the State Capitol because she wanted to help other foster kids who faced similar situations.


Josh Rosenthal

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