UNDATED -- Recommendations on improving the state's child protection system seem to be making a difference in getting kids out of abusive homes. But, it comes with another problem...more out-of-home placements.

The state of Minnesota made several recommendations to county child protection agencies after the death of 4-year-old Eric Dean of Starbuck in 2013.  He was murdered by a stepmother after months of abuse which were never fully investigated. Among those recommendations were, more reports being "screened-in" for further investigation.

Jim Koppel is the Assistant Commissioner for Children and Family Services in Minnesota. He says increased training means more reports are being filed, more cases are being investigated, more children are being placed in foster care, and ultimately more children are being saved from abuse.

Minnesota has "screened-in" more than 7,200 additional child protection cases in the first two quarters of 2016 than the same period two years ago. It has also meant almost 2,200 additional foster care placements since 2014, or about a 25-percent increase.

A recent report listed Minnesota as one of five states with the biggest increases in foster care placements.

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