Gov. Doug Burgum today announced the 12 members of the newly established Children’s Cabinet, which will study and coordinate care for children across the three branches of state government and the tribal nations.
State legislators passed Senate Bill 2313, and the governor signed it in April, to create the Children’s Cabinet. Its duties include developing strategies to address gaps or needs in early childhood care and education, medical and behavioral health, child welfare and juvenile justice.
“Surveys, studies and stakeholders have all pointed to the need for a more comprehensive continuum of services for children and families in North Dakota, especially for those with complex behavioral health needs,” Burgum said. “The Children’s Cabinet is an important step toward closing gaps in services and improving outcomes for North Dakota’s youth.”
“North Dakota can better meet needs of children and families by connecting services across systems. A mother should have access to services for her child without calling law enforcement or interacting with the criminal justice or child welfare system,” said Sen. Judy Lee of West Fargo, who introduced SB 2313.
“The Children’s Cabinet brings together the three branches of government to ensure services are connected and meeting the needs of North Dakotans,” said House Majority Leader Chet Pollert of Carrington, who as chair of Legislative Management will serve as presiding officer of the Children’s Cabinet.
In addition to Burgum and Pollert, the Cabinet members are:
- State Superintendent Kirsten Baesler
- Paula Condol, executive director of the Dakota Children’s Advocacy Center in Bismarck
- State Sen. David Hogue of Minot, president pro tempore of the Senate
- Kimberly Jacobson, director of Agassiz Valley Social Services District in Hillsboro
- Teresa Larsen, director of the Committee on Protection and Advocacy
- State Rep. Lawrence Klemin of Bismarck, speaker of the House
- North Dakota Supreme Court Justice Lisa Fair McEvers
- Janell Regimbal, vice president of children’s services for Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota
- Russell Riehl, principal at Simle Middle School, Bismarck, and student support services coordinator for Bismarck Public Schools
- Vincent Roehr, executive director of the Child Safety Center in New Town.
Condol, Jacobson, Regimbal, Riehl and Roehr were appointed by the governor. The other members are designated in statute.
The Children’s Cabinet will meet at least four times per year and submit an annual report with its findings and recommendations. Its first meeting is scheduled for 1 p.m. Nov. 19 at the Capitol in Bismarck.