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KARE 11 Investigates: A mother's despair as she tries to get mental health care for her daughter

State failures to provide treatment for kids with mental illness and histories of violence have left them in jails, families desperate and community safety at risk.

Brandon Stahl (KARE11), Lauren Leamanczyk, Steve Eckert

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Published: 4:51 PM CST December 7, 2022
Updated: 10:20 PM CST December 7, 2022

As Dawn looks through her daughter’s room, it’s a reminder that the girl has rarely slept here the last few years.

Instead, the 15-year-old girl’s life has been on a seemingly endless cycle for years, bouncing from juvenile detention to group homes to hospital emergency rooms for mental health crises.

In between, she’s run away more times than Dawn can count. She’s assaulted her parents numerous times, each one sending her to juvenile detention.  

“It just goes around and around and around,” said Dawn. KARE 11 is not using her last name to protect her daughter’s identity.

Credit: KARE 11
For years Dawn has struggled to get help for her mentally ill daughter who has a history of violence.

Dawn doesn’t want her daughter in a juvenile jail, a facility never designed to provide the type of mental health treatment her daughter needs.

“That is not the place for her,” she said.

“But,” she adds, “there is no place for her.”

That’s the reality in Minnesota for kids like Dawn’s daughter, children who suffer with mental illness and have histories of aggression or violence.

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