The Minnesota Department of Human Services provides Minnesotans with a variety of services intended to help people live as independently as possible.
The Minnesota Department of Human Services serves Minnesotans in all 87 counties and 11 tribes. More than one million Minnesotans receive some sort of help from our department. Among these are our grandparents, neighbors, friends, relatives and classmates.
Many of the people we serve only need assistance for a short period of time, while others need longer-term assistance. At DHS our goal is to meet people where they are at, and focus on outcomes to improve life situations, and to get people the help they need so they can reach their full potential.
Here is one of their stories:
FosterClub’s Outstanding Young Leader of 2013 credits her foster mom for her national recognition. Twenty-year-old Haley Kuehl, a Douglas County foster youth since age 11, drew the attention of FosterClub for her leadership, actions and commitment to improve foster care programming.
Kuehl’s “amazing foster mom,” as she described her, championed Kuehl to advocate for services and extend her own care before she aged out of the foster care system. “She's been there for me. Anything I do, I want to make her proud and happy,” said Kuehl, now a second-year student at St. Cloud State University with plans to become a pediatric nurse. Kuehl’s experience, like many foster youth, includes multiple placements and attempts to reunite her and her sister with their birth parents. Her determination and courage has made a difference for her and others.
Kuehl raised funds, secured a grant to buy luggage for incoming foster children and helped organize rallies at the Minnesota Capitol. She has spoken with legislators about the need to support youth aging out of foster care, and raised awareness of their complex and unique needs. She also served for more than four years on the Willmar Minnesota Youth Leadership Council, one of four in the state that advises the Minnesota Department of Human Services on development of policies that affect children in the foster care system.
After graduating from high school, Kuehl requested to remain in foster care and live in a supervised independent living setting—a dorm room at the University of North Dakota, where she enrolled her freshman year. When the county denied her request because of the out-of-state setting, Kuehl appealed the decision and won. Since then, Kuehl transferred schools to be closer to her foster family, and now lives and works in St. Cloud.
Kuehl’s foster care status also qualified her to receive help with her college expenses from the department’s Education Training Voucher (ETV) program. “I work and save money for school. ETV makes college a feasible option for me. It has helped me be financially stable and stay independent,” said Kuehl.
“In the foster care system there are a lot of resources. Even if you come from a bad situation, you can be successful,” reflects Kuehl. “Foster families are important. Together, we make it work.”
Each year FosterClub recognizes 100 young leaders nationwide who give back to their communities and improve the foster care system. Learn more about Kuehl in this news release.