Despite what you may have been told by local media, the decision to open up child protection hearings to the public this week cannot be traced directly to the case of 3-year-old Desi Irving who, after minimal intervention by Hennepin County social workers, was beaten to death last year by her mother. Scores of public officials, among them DFL state Rep. Wes Skoglund, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, say the push for access to juvenile proceedings involving Children in Need of Protective Services (CHIPS) began in 1995, before anyone in the state Legislature knew that Desi Irving even existed. "The key thing was accountability," Skoglund recalls. "My colleagues and I found the system buries its mistakes, so no one knows when harm is done or not done. We felt that if the system was opened, people, all kinds of people--in the system, the press, citizen's groups--would want to come and observe what happens to kids. Desi's story reinforces what we managed to accomplish. But we had acted by the time... More >>>