juneteenth illustration with raised fists

Juneteenth, which is now celebrated on June 19, is a special day in American history. It marks the end of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, and announced that all enslaved people were free. This news came more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, which had officially ended slavery in the Confederate states on January 1, 1863.

Juneteenth, a blend of "June" and "nineteenth," is also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, and Emancipation Day. The day is a celebration of freedom and African American culture and heritage. People celebrate Juneteenth with parades, cookouts, festivals, music, and other community events. It is a time to remember the struggles and achievements of African Americans and to honor their contributions to the country.

In 2021, Juneteenth became a federal holiday, recognized nationwide as a time for reflection and celebration. This recognition helps ensure that the history and significance of Juneteenth are remembered and honored by all Americans.

Child Welfare: Ensuring Safety and Well-being

Child welfare is about making sure that all children are safe, healthy, and cared for. It includes services and support to protect children from abuse and neglect and to help families stay together and thrive. Sometimes, if a child's home is not safe, child welfare services may place the child in foster care with a temporary family.

The goal of child welfare is to keep families together whenever possible and to help parents create a safe and loving environment for their children. This involves providing support like parenting classes, counseling, and assistance with basic needs such as food and housing.

Unfortunately, not all children have the same experience with the child welfare system. Studies have shown that African American children are more likely to be removed from their homes and placed in foster care than children from other racial groups. This disparity can be due to various factors, including biases and systemic issues within the child welfare system.

The Minnesota African American Family Preservation and Child Welfare Disproportionality Act

In Minnesota, a new law has been passed to address these disparities in the child welfare system. The Minnesota African American Family Preservation and Child Welfare Disproportionality Act aims to reduce the number of African American children in foster care and to ensure that they are treated fairly.

The Act includes several important measures:

  1. Preventing Unnecessary Removal: The Act emphasizes keeping African American children with their families whenever it is safe to do so. This means providing more support to families to address issues before they reach a crisis point that might lead to a child's removal.
  2. Cultural Competency Training: The Act requires child welfare workers to receive training in cultural competency. This training helps workers understand and respect the cultural backgrounds of the families they serve. It also helps to reduce biases that might influence decisions about removing children from their homes.
  3. Community Involvement: The Act encourages greater involvement of the African American community in the child welfare system. This includes creating advisory councils made up of community members who can provide input and help ensure that the system is fair and effective.
  4. Data Collection and Reporting: The Act mandates the collection and analysis of data to identify and address disparities. By tracking how African American children and families are treated in the system, the state can make informed decisions about how to improve policies and practices.
  5. Support for Relative Caregivers: The Act provides more support for relatives who care for children when they cannot stay with their parents. Keeping children with family members, rather than placing them in foster care with strangers, can help maintain important family connections and provide a sense of stability.

The Minnesota African American Family Preservation and Child Welfare Disproportionality Act is a significant step toward making the child welfare system more equitable and just. It recognizes the importance of cultural understanding and community involvement in protecting and supporting children and families. By addressing the specific needs of African American families, the Act aims to reduce disparities and ensure that all children have the opportunity to grow up in a safe and loving environment.

The DHS Child Safety and Permanency Division is in the planning stages for the African American Family Preservation Act's initial implementation. DHS/DCYF and the Training Academy will continue to share updates as we learn more.


Juneteenth is a powerful reminder of the struggle for freedom and equality in the United States. Celebrating this day helps us remember the importance of freedom and the contributions of African Americans to our history and culture.

At the same time, the Minnesota African American Family Preservation and Child Welfare Disproportionality Act shows the ongoing efforts to ensure that all children and families are treated fairly and with respect. By addressing disparities in the child welfare system, this law aims to create a better future for African American children and families in Minnesota.

Last year, the Training Academy shared The Importance of Juneteenth and the Proximity to Child Welfare Practices, written by Shaneen Moore, Deputy Assistant Commissioner, Children and Family Services, Child Support Division, Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS). This content continues to be relevant and important in this conversation.

Together, Juneteenth and the new Act highlight the importance of justice, equity, and community in building a better society for everyone.