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News and updates on the DHS efforts to assist low-income Minnesotans stay healthy and living productively.

2015 County Human Service Cost Report is available online

The annual Minnesota County Human Service Cost Report for Calendar Year 2015 (PDF) is available on DHS’ public website. The report, compiled by the Financial Operations Division, contains statewide and county-specific costs and revenue shares for economic support, health and social service programs. The report combines county fiscal activity, DHS centralized activity for counties, federal and state payments and computation of the county funded share — it is the big picture of Minnesota’s county-administered, state supervised human services system. Narrative descriptions and notes, a graphic overview, trend data and per-capita comparative data are included.

19th annual celebration honors 2016 adoptive families

Minnesota’s newest adoptive families, as well as those interested in adoption, will celebrate together Sunday, Nov. 6, during the 19th annual Celebrate Adoption: A Circus of the Heart, from 1 to 4 p.m. at Envision (formerly the Prom Center Event Facility) in Oakdale. Recognizing children who have been adopted from the foster care system in the past year, the Minnesota Department of Human Services and its partners celebrate and encourage families to consider making a lifelong impact on children through adoption. Celebrate Adoption is open to the public to gather information from state, county, nonprofit and private agency adoption experts. Families will enjoy face painting, pony rides, music, games, crafts and prize drawings. The Minnesota Department of Human Services, MN ADOPT, counties and adoption agencies are sponsoring this year’s celebration.

Parents, others on task force working to improve child support system

The Child Support Task Force, established by the 2016 Minnesota Legislature, has chosen four final members to represent parents, and convened its first meeting Sept. 28. Responsible for making recommendations to DHS, the task force looks to maintain and improve child support guidelines, and objectively discusses complex data and policy issues facing the child support system. Parent members include Tammie Campbell, Plymouth; Jimmy Lloyd, Fridley; Jason Smith, North Mankato; and Laura Vang, Brooklyn Center. They will work with representatives from the department, the Minnesota County Attorney’s Association, the Minnesota Family Support Recovery Council, Minnesota Court Administration, the Minnesota Legal Services Coalition, Minnesota Native American Tribal Child Support Programs, the Minnesota State Bar Association, the Minnesota House of Representatives and the Minnesota Senate. The task force will meet three more times this year, and quarterly in 2017, and submit a report with recommendations to the Minnesota Legislature in February 2018. More information on the task force, its members and upcoming meetings is on the department’s Child Support Task Force page.

Minnesota selected for SNAP Employment and Training technical assistance

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently selected Minnesota as one of 10 states to participant in SNAP to Skills, a new program designed to help states strengthen and improve Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Employment and Training for participating adults. Minnesota was chosen for its consistent level of commitment and interest in expanding the SNAP Employment and Training resources and partnerships, and an availability of strong, job-driven workforce development programs across the state. More information is in a news release about the jobs program.

Videos to help SNAP Employment and Training participants

The Minnesota Department of Human Services, in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, has produced two orientation videos for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Employment and Training (SNAP E&T) participants. The videos, produced in English and Spanish, introduce viewers to what SNAP Employment and Training does to help Minnesotans transition from public assistance to self-sufficiency by preparing for and obtaining gainful employment. A Somali language video is currently in production and will be published later in 2016. More information can be found on the department’s SNAP Employment and Training Program webpage.

DHS manager named to national task force on refugees, unaccompanied children

Rachele King, Refugee Resettlement program manager, recently became a founding member of the American Public Human Services Association’s Joint Task Force on Refugees and Unaccompanied Children. Along with human services officials from Colorado and Illinois, King introduced this task force to foster communication about refugee services between the state and federal level. She will evaluate the influence of an influx of refugees and unaccompanied children on human services departments, render policy solutions and aid departments in supporting these populations. More information on the Minnesota Resettlement Programs Office is available on the department’s website.

Partners to help reduce disparities, strengthen families

DHS recently awarded $1.5 million per year in three-year grants to eight tribes, counties and community agencies to reduce disparities in the child welfare system. Appropriated by the 2016 Minnesota Legislature, funds are planned for the development, implementation and evaluations of activities addressing disparities and the disproportionality of African American and American Indian children and families involved in child welfare. More information is in a news release on the grants and organizations receiving them.

Parent Support Outreach Program aims to help children, parents 

The program that aims to help prevent child abuse and neglect served more than 5,700 Minnesota children and their families in 2015. The Parent Support Outreach Program, focusing on prevention and early intervention, helps address problems in families before they become crises. Participation in the program is voluntary and services include case management, counseling, parent education and enhancing parent-child interactions. Families may also receive help addressing their basic needs of food, clothing and shelter to reduce risk of future child maltreatment. More information can be found on the Parent Support Outreach Program page.

Counties pilot new foster parent training

Recently, the Minnesota Child Welfare Training System introduced Foster Parent College, a blended classroom and online training for new foster families, currently being piloted in Douglas, Hennepin, Pope, Washington and Wright counties. While counties currently require 12 sessions between foster parents and trainers, Foster Parent College allows parents to complete the majority of their training online, and take part in only four face-to-face sessions. This concentration on online learning allows more families the opportunity to fit foster care parent training into their schedules. Currently, Minnesota families care for almost 12,200 children in foster face. More information about foster care is on the department’s website.

LGBTQ Youth Practice Guide available in more languages

The Minnesota Department of Human Services youth practice guide, Working with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning/queer (LGBTQ) youth (PDF), is now available in Spanish, Hmong and Somali. The practice guide has statistical information on LGBTQ youth, a glossary and resource list as well as information on preserving relationships and reunifying with birth families; engaging and building relationships with LGBTQ youth; ensuring LGBTQ youth safety; and considering circumstances for transgender youth.

ApplyMN online application simplifies process

Minnesotans in need of health care, nutrition assistance, child care assistance and emergency assistance can apply online through ApplyMN, This site allows Minnesotans to fill out a single application online for a majority of public assistance programs.

Self-sufficiency and health care statistics report is online

Family Self Sufficiency and Health Care Program Statistics (PDF) report is available online. The report, compiled by the Reports and Forecasts Division, includes caseload numbers and expenditures for cash, emergency and food assistance programs and health care programs.

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