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Minnesota Girl Redefines Courage in Face of Abuse

Image: Minnesota Girl Redefines Courage in Face of Abuse
Visitors view the Minnesota State Capitol dome during tours of the renovated building where the 2017 Legislature convened on Jan. 3, 2017 in St. Paul. (Jim Mone/AP)

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Tuesday, 09 May 2017 08:41 AM Current | Bio | Archive

For those of you in the audience who still believe government has our best interests at heart, and can be relied upon to protect the vulnerable, provide healthcare, and rescue the downtrodden, I invite you to spend some time with McKenna Ahrenholz.

McKenna is a 12-year-old Minnesota girl who was shuffled back and forth between foster homes and her father. Interviewed by WCCO (CBS Minneapolis) McKenna showed the flaws in the family reunification ideology often blinding government social workers, "My dad abused us, and he wouldn’t feed us. We would just eat on the floor with boxes as our table, and eat off a box."

Dear old dad also isolated McKenna and her siblings from other relatives. When she became old enough to speak for herself, McKenna would tell her caseworker they didn’t want to go back. "We’d be like, 'No, we don’t want to go home! Why do you have to take us home?' And they were like 'Oh, he’s perfectly fine, there’s nothing wrong with him,'" she said.

Of course the social worker didn’t have to live with the father of the year. Then McKenna got lucky. In 2014 she met her grandparents for the first time and was able to move in with them, where she and the rest of her siblings live to this day.

McKenna wasn’t content to enjoy her new life and leave it at that. Instead she sent a letter to Minnesota State Rep. Ron Kresha, R-Little Falls. In that letter she wrote, "I have been punched, starved and neglected. And I don’t want anyone else to go through that."

And here’s where I get angry and I’ll bet you do, too.

Her caseworker ignored McKenna’s protests, but she would have had to listen to a lawyer. And what makes my blood boil is that by law in Minnesota a minor in foster care has the right to a lawyer to represent their interests. She didn’t have one because her caseworker, the individual taxpayers pay to care for children like McKenna, couldn’t be bothered to tell her.

Maybe the caseworker thought he knew best. Maybe he doesn’t like kids who disagree with him. Or, maybe he wanted to keep the trains running on time, but the upshot was McKenna and her siblings paid the price for his negligence.

Rep. Kresha read from McKenna’s letter on the State House floor and told the assembled legislators," We hear a lot about courage down here. And I will tell you, this young lady has now redefined courage for me."

Kresha wrote and sponsored a law, which passed both houses of the legislature, that requires workers in the foster care system to tell children they have legal rights and they can have a lawyer to represent them in foster care proceedings.

McKenna’s grandmother, Kathy Burland, summed it up best, "Words don’t even express how I feel . . . I’m so happy. Other kids won’t have to go through what these kids did."

Michael Reagan, the eldest son of President Reagan, is a Newsmax TV analyst. A syndicated columnist and author, he chairs The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Michael is an in-demand speaker with Premiere speaker’s bureau. Read more reports from Michael Reagan — Go Here Now.

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For those of you in the audience who still believe government has our best interests at heart and can be relied upon to protect the vulnerable, provide healthcare, and rescue the downtrodden, I invite you to spend some time with McKenna Ahrenholz.
foster, minneapolis, minnesota
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2017-41-09
Tuesday, 09 May 2017 08:41 AM
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