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2017 Slumberland “Making a Difference” Award – McKenna’s Mission

The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Upper Midwest Chapter is proud to recognize excellence in video production and storytelling.  Our corporate partner, Slumberland, is all about making lives better.  To honor the spirit of both organizations, we present the Slumberland “Making a Difference” Award.  

logo_4-colorTelevision & video has the power with one story to change one life.  That’s why many of us got into the industry.  This award honors the measurable changing of someone’s life or lives in our communities with one piece of video storytelling.  Nominations are accepted from the performing, creative, technical or administrative roles within the industry. Neither nominators nor nominees need to be members of NATAS.  This is a very special plaque award recipients will receive at the 2017 Upper Midwest Regional Emmy® Gala at the Radisson Blu Hotel at the Mall of America in Blooming, MN on October 7th, 2017.

2017 Slumberland “Making A Difference” Award Recipient

KSTP -TV: McKenna’s Mission

Malnourished, frail and constantly craving the love she deserved, 12-year-old McKenna Ahrenholz spent most of her young life caring for her four siblings. She remembers spending frantic mornings wiping dog feces off their clothes before school and stealing cans of food from the cupboards to feed them while hiding in their bedrooms.

In KSTP-TV’s original investigation, McKenna’s father admits to neglecting his children. McKenna begged her case workers for help. Still, child protection kept sending her back to her father’s care. No one told McKenna that she was old enough, according to state law, to have an attorney fight for her wants and needs in court. She didn’t know she had any rights at all.

After KSTP-TV’s report revealed children in child protection who are entitled lawyers aren’t getting them, lawmakers got involved. McKenna’s Law passed unanimously at the end of Minnesota’s 2017 legislative session and the Governor signed it into law. It is the only Minnesota law named after a living person.

Now, all Minnesota foster children 10 and older will know they, too, have a say in their own future thanks to the courage of one quiet little girl who spoke up.

McKenna’s Law requires county social workers to inform children who are the subject of a child protection petition and who are 10 or older that they have a right to an attorney. Never again will these children be left in the dark without a say in their own future. McKenna’s law has already changed the lives of hundreds of Minnesota children and it will save countless lives to come.