Audio Feature (20.06)
RealAudio 2.0 file
One of the byproducts of the nation's crack epidemic is the toll on families, particularly the children of addicts. Because of the devastation surrounding crack, social service agencies are taking a tougher stance on reuniting troubled families. In Minnesota, that means addicted parents no longer have an endless supply of second chances to repair their lives while their children circulate through a series of foster homes. Because of a so-called permanency law, the state has accelerated the time authorities can permanently remove children from their parent's care. That's resulted in a sharp increase in the number of people losing their children permanently. In the past four years, the number of people losing their parental rights in Hennepin county has tripled. In Ramsey county, the number of people losing their parental rights has doubled. Minnesota Public Radio's Elizabeth Stawicki has the story of Janet, a woman who's fighting to keep her two children after losing custody of the other five.