TRUE FACT: Beginning in Fall 2022, Minnesota teens who have spent time in foster care will have their college costs covered by a new state grant program (Star Tribune, July 31st online).
Sounds like a terrific idea.
Unfortunately, many middle- and working-class parents in the North Star State have responded to this initiative by abandoning their biological children.
Minnesota State Police report that the number of teenagers left at rest areas on Interstates 94 and 35 has increased 50-fold. According to one state trooper, “we used to see about 2 or 3 abandoned kids per week on our Interstate highways. Now, the number is close to 150. Unbelievable!
“What generally happens is that the family is out driving somewhere when Junior says he has to go to the bathroom. The parents stop at a rest area and let him out. As soon as he enters the facility, the parents take off. They hightail it home, pack up all their stuff, and move out of state with no forwarding address. How cruel is that?”
For their part, the majority of these parents claim that no one ever told them how expensive it would be to raise children.
“On any given day, my 14-year-old son Chester would eat his body weight in Cheetos,” complains a single mom from Duluth who immobilized her Orange Boy with a tranquilizing dart and then deposited him on a bench in a local dog park before departing for Las Vegas with her boyfriend. “I’m entitled to a life too, you know.”
The Minnesota State Legislature will meet in emergency session in mid-August to address the perverse incentives embedded in the grant program. Says Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazalka: “I thought Minnesotans were better than this.”
We all did, Senator. We all did.
First Garrison Keillor, and now this.