News and updates on the DHS efforts to assist Minnesota's families and children.
Resettlement Programs Office announces new mission, vision and values
DHS’ Resettlement Programs Office has announced its new mission, vision and values statements, reflecting its updated goals for Minnesota’s refugee population.
- Mission: The Resettlement Programs Office works with many others to support the effective resettlement of refugees in Minnesota by helping meet their basic needs so that they can live in dignity and achieve their highest potential.
- Vision: Refugees and their families are healthy, stable and live in strong, welcome communities.
- Values include focusing on people and using a holistic person-centered approach; working to ensure ladders up and safety nets are both available and accessible; working in tandem with community partners, counties and agencies to enhance a welcoming environment for refugees; and ensuring accountability and striving to deliver appropriate, effective and efficient services.
More information about refugee resettlement is on the DHS 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.
Foster families celebrate at Twins game
Hundreds of Minnesota foster families enjoyed a recognition ceremony, scoreboard messages and public address announcements all related to foster care June 16 at a Minnesota Twins game. The Minnesota Twins Community Fund donated 700 tickets for families to attend this year’s event. DHS, as well as Anoka, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott and Washington counties hosted the event. Currently, in Minnesota, 14,700 children are in out-of-home care — almost 12,200 of them in family foster homes. More foster families are needed. More information about foster care is online.
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.
Foster Care Work Group submits final recommendations to 2016 Legislature
The Foster Care Work Group released its full report and recommendations. Recommendations included improvements in three areas of the foster care system: Improving recruitment, application and licensing processes; improving policies on the removal of children from their family homes; and improving the outcomes for children in the foster care system. Although the recommendations did not make it into the governor’s budget this year, several have been used by other legislators in their own bills. The final report and recommendations can be found on the Minnesota Legislature’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.
State releases first youth sexual exploitation report, recommendations
A first-year evaluation of the state's Safe Harbor Program credits it with raising awareness and understanding of the sexual exploitation of young men and women in Minnesota and provides key information about the youth who are victims. The Safe Harbor First Year Evaluation Overview, released by the Minnesota departments of Health and Human Services, is the first report of its kind on Safe Harbor, the new statewide system for helping sexually exploited youth younger than age 18 years, which went into full effect in 2014. More information is in a news story about the report.
Fraud threat: SNAP hotline intercepted
Members of the public are reporting that they continue to receive unsolicited calls from what appears to be the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) toll-free information hotline number: 800-221-5689. The callers are requesting personal information offering assistance for filling out a SNAP application or other non-SNAP services such as home security systems. Never provide personal information or your credit card number over the phone to unsolicited callers. This outside entity that has spoofed the SNAP toll-free information hotline number is not affiliated with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service or SNAP. If you suspect that you are receiving illegitimate calls, you may file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission. If you have already fallen victim to this or a similar scam, visit the FTC consumer webpage for more into formation on identity theft.
Provider enrollment starts for new autism benefit
Effective July 1, 2015, the Minnesota Department of Human Services began enrolling providers to deliver a new early intensive intervention Medical Assistance benefit for children and young adults with autism spectrum disorder and related conditions. Families and children will be able to access services later this summer. Under the new benefit, covered services will be designed to improve social interaction, communication and behavioral regulation skills at a critical time in development, promoting fuller participation by children in their family, schools and community life. Families interested in the new benefit should contact their county, tribe or managed care plan. More information is available in a news release and on the DHS website.
Safe sleep practices for infants can save lives
Parents, families, hospitals and child care providers can help reduce the risk of sleep-related infant deaths by following simple, safe sleep practices. In Minnesota, over a five-year period beginning in 2009, there were 247 deaths in which an unsafe sleep environment, such as placing the infant in a tummy position, co-sleeping in adult beds or on sofas, or having infants sleep with pillows or blankets, was a contributing factor. Greater awareness about safe sleep practices can help turn around those numbers.
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