The Chronicle of Social Change’s National Expansion Reaches Minnesota

May 23, 2019 LOS ANGELES -- As part of an ambitious plan to scale its work, The Chronicle of Social Change, a national news outlet focused on child welfare and youth justice, will begin operations in Minnesota next month. 

Thanks to a two-year grant from the St. Paul, Minn.-based Sauer Family Foundation, the award-winning news site will produce high impact journalism focused on child welfare in a state that has seen overall foster care numbers rise steeply in recent years.  

“Children and youth involved in foster care are invisible to the general public,” stated Colleen O’Keefe, Executive Director of the Sauer Family Foundation, “More media attention for this vulnerable population will help us create a system that has their well-being front and center.”

Since 2017 The Chronicle has opened reporting hubs in New York, Wyoming, Arizona and Michigan. This expanded presence has increased accountability and spurred reforms within the systems that serve vulnerable children, youth and families.

When a foster youth in a broken wheelchair languished in a New York City shelter for months, The Chronicle broke the story, sparking City Council hearings to ensure that situation’s like Kenneth’s don’t happen again. In Georgia, coverage of the state’s practice of paying relatives who care for foster children less than traditional foster parents resulted in a $2.7 million budget increase this year. In California, Colorado and Rhode Island, The Chronicle’s dogged coverage of those states’ failures to give foster kids a ride to school (as required by federal law) has resulted in more than $5 million and counting to do just that. 

“It is our honor and duty to cover Minnesota’s child welfare system fairly and consistently,” said Chronicle Publisher Daniel Heimpel. “Given the erosion of local journalism, and the pressing need to increase attention to Minnesota’s foster care system, we are absolutely thrilled by this generous grant from the Sauer Family and their foundation”.

A 2018 report by Harvard’s Shorenstein Center found that of $1.8 billion in foundation grants disbursed between 2010 and 2015, only 4.5 percent went to local nonprofit newsrooms. Meanwhile, newspaper revenues have been more than halved, dropping roughly $30 billion, while the national workforce has shrunk by 23 percent.

This gap in local reporting is especially pronounced when it comes to deep coverage of social issues like child welfare and juvenile justice.

The Chronicle is filling this gap. Its reports and editors will partner media outlets to co-publish stories when appropriate, and help local journalists better understand national context.

Fostering Media Connections (FMC) is a non-profit news organization that uses a mix of investigative, accountability and solution-oriented journalism to drive reform within the systems that serve vulnerable children, youth and their families. FMC publishes The Chronicle of Social Change and Fostering Families Today magazine.

Beyond producing stories, FMC employs an aggressive dissemination strategy to see its stories re-published in other media outlets thus changing public perceptions and driving lasting policy change.

The mission of the Sauer Family Foundation is to use resources to improve the lives of disadvantaged children and their families in Minnesota. The Sauer Family Foundation funds in the areas of Early Childhood Education for children in foster care, homeless families and low income families; K-12 Education for children in low income families; and in child welfare, particularly in the areas of prevention and early intervention.

Contact: Thalia Henderson | | 213-265-7767