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

New site provides in-depth look at nutrition programs 

With proper nutrition, children learn more easily, adults work more productively and seniors are healthier. Hundreds of thousands of Minnesota’s children, seniors and people with disabilities rely on federal nutrition programs for their daily meals, and they now have an interactive resource for learning about those programs. A website, 2018 Farm bill: Minnesota’s nutrition programs, provides an in-depth look at two U.S. Department of Agriculture programs – the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) – and the breadth of their impact on Minnesotans. The website also features an interactive county map and congressional district data. Congress authorizes funding and policies for SNAP and TEFAP in the federal farm bill, and current authorization for funding expires in September 2018. The Minnesota Department of Human Services oversees the program. More information about the new website on nutrition programs can be found in a department press release.

Refugee contributions highlighted in new award series 

Refugees contribute hard work and entrepreneurship to our communities, and are increasingly taking on roles as civic leaders. To celebrate this, the Minnesota Department of Human Services initiated 2017 awards to honor refugees in Minnesota for their courage, resilience and entrepreneurship, and to recognize their contributions to the state. The department selected seven Minnesotans to honor with Outstanding Refugee Awards in the program’s first year – four of whom were honored for civic leadership, and three of whom were honored for entrepreneurial leadership. More information about the awards, the honorees and the role that the department plays in supporting refugees is available in a department news release.

Child Care Emergency Plan released for care, preparation of children in care

With more than 12,000 child care facilities across the state serving more than 230,000 children every day, the Minnesota Department of Human Services’ Children and Family Services and Office of Inspector General, in partnership with other state, county and public partners, created the Child Care Emergency Plan (PDF) to assist families, child care providers, counties, and state agencies prepare for and respond to emergencies and disasters, and ensure the health and safety of children in these situations. More information can be found on the department’s child care research page.

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.

Self-sufficiency and health care statistics report is online

The Family Self Sufficiency and Health Care Program Statistics report is available on the financial reports and forecasts page. 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.

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

The department 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.

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.

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