Rep. Ron Kresha, R-Little Falls, was recently selected to participate in the National Conference of State Legislatures Child Welfare Fellows Program.

The program consists of 25 state legislators from across the country and is designed to support legislators and legislative staff who are experienced or emerging leaders on child welfare issues.

"It is a tremendous honor to be chosen to participate in the NCSL's Child Welfare Fellows Program," Kresha said in a news release. "The issues surrounding child welfare are among the most pressing that we face as legislators, both in Minnesota and around the country. The program will bring together leaders from across the nation to share ideas for legislative solutions, and I look forward to working alongside my colleagues to tackle these issues and better protect the welfare and safety of our children."

The Child Welfare Fellows Program will focus on several relevant topics, including child welfare structure and financing; data on child maltreatment, foster care and adoption; child welfare workforce challenges; prevention and early intervention; family preservation and reunification; trauma-informed services; supporting foster parents and older youth transitioning to adulthood; new opportunities through the recently enacted federal Family First Prevention Services Act; and Native American and African-American children in care.

Child Welfare Fellows will participate in several activities, such as in-person meetings and webinars. The first in-person meeting, held last week, provided program participants with the opportunity to meet other Child Welfare Fellows and learn about new federal legislation, the foster care system and other child welfare issues.