News and updates on the DHS efforts to assist low-income Minnesotans stay healthy and living productively.
Lynx to treat foster families to professional basketball game
The Minnesota Lynx donated 100 tickets to foster families to attend the Sept. 2 game at Target Center in Minneapolis. Coordinated by Hennepin, Ramsey and Washington counties and DHS, this is one of many annual events supporting foster families and celebrating their commitment to children. In 2015, foster families cared for almost 12,200 children in Minnesota. Last year, the number of children in our-of-home placements increased by approximately 9 percent from 2014, due primarily to children remaining in foster care longer and more children being placed in foster care. With the increase, many county and tribal agencies have a shortage of family foster homes and need additional licensed families to care for children. Information on becoming a foster parent is available on the department’s website.
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.
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.
DHS director 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.
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.
$250,000 grant will help families with low incomes get nutritious food
Families and individuals with low incomes will have more access to nutritious food through a new $250,000 grant from the Minnesota Department of Human Services awarded to Second Harvest Heartland, one of the nation’s largest food banks. The grant will help fund Second Harvest’s Food Security project for those who need hunger relief, and providing sizable boxes of healthy food each month for people with diabetes and pre-diabetes. Second Harvest Heartland serves more than 500,000 people a year in 59 counties across Minnesota and western Wisconsin. More information is in a news release about the grant.
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.
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.
ApplyMN online application simplifies process
Minnesotans in need of health care, nutrition assistance, child care assistance and emergency assistance can apply online through ApplyMN, applymn.dhs.mn.gov. 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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