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News and updates on DHS efforts that support people with disabilities.

Aging, disability, mental health groups gathering to discuss workforce shortage 

A wide array of some 200 stakeholders will explore solutions to increase the number of paid helpers for older adults and people with disabilities Tuesday, July 26, at the Direct Care/Support Workforce Summit.   The invitational event, sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Human Services and nearly 30 other Minnesota organizations, will bring together workers, people who receive services, service providers and representatives of  labor, health care, higher education and state and local units of government to address a shortage in the direct care and direct support workforce. 

People receiving services and service providers already are reporting a shortage of workers for older adults and people with disabilities. Nearly 60,000 additional positions will need to be filled in Minnesota in the next four years, according to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, because of an increase in Minnesota’s older population, more people wanting care and support at home and more people with disabilities being supported to live and work in their communities.

The summit will begin a conversation about increasing the number of people who are paid to help people in their own homes, group homes, nursing homes, assisted living and other settings. Solutions related to compensation, recruitment, retention, technology, quality, credentialing and career ladders all will be explored.

While participation is limited for the July 26 summit, people interested in the issue can write to to receive updates and a summary of the solutions identified, as well as be informed about how to join workgroups that may be formed as a result of the event.

list of organizations participating in the event (PDF) is on the DHS website.

Statewide deaf and hard of hearing survey underway

The Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Division of the Minnesota Department of Human Services provides services to people who are deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing. How can Deaf and Hard of Hard of Hearing Services improve? What services do you need that are not provided? We invite you to respond to these questions as part of a study funded by the 2015 Legislature. The study will find out the needs of Minnesotans who are deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing. More information about the survey is on the DHS public participation page

Minnesota's Olmstead Plan approved by U.S. District Court

Minnesota's Olmstead Plan, which is designed to ensure that people with disabilities are able to live, learn, work, and enjoy life in the most integrated setting of their choosing, was approved Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank. The plan charts a course that will change the way state government provides services and supports for Minnesotans with disabilities. More information is available in a news release on the Office of Governor Mark Dayton's website.

Provider enrollment starts for new autism benefit

Beginning July 1 the Minnesota Department of Human Services will enroll 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.

Plan aims to improve opportunities for people with disabilities

A plan that recognizes that Minnesotans with disabilities have the right to live, work and enjoy life in the most integrated setting is available online after being submitted to the court for final approval. The plan charts a course that will change the way state government provides supports and services for people protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The Olmstead Plan (PDF), which is named after a 1999 U.S. Supreme Court decision that enumerated the rights of people with disabilities, is now posted online. After months of discussion at public meetings, testimony from people with disabilities and their families and many others, the Olmstead Sub-Cabinet has issued the draft plan. More information is in a news release about the Olmstead Plan.

Online training aimed at understanding hearing, vision loss

Online training is now available for people interested in learning about the unique challenges experienced by people who have combined hearing and vision loss. The Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Division is now offering DeafBlind101: An Introduction to Combined Hearing and Vision Loss on the deaf and hard of hearing services page on the DHS website by clicking the deafblind button on the homepage.

Plan to better align substance abuse prevention programs posted

A comprehensive five-year strategic plan to prevent substance abuse and related problems has been posted on the DHS website. The Minnesota Prevention Systems Alignment Plan (PDF) is a product of the State Prevention Enhancement planning grant received by DHS' Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration in 2011 called the State Prevention Enhancement Project.

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