News from DHS for February 2021

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News from DHS archive

In this issue:

More help coming for hungry children

young boy holding cucumbers over his eyes playfully as another boy holds yellow pepper slices

More help is on the way for hundreds of thousands of hungry Minnesota children for the 2020-2021 school year. To ensure children receive the food benefits known as P-EBT, families should make sure they are approved for free or reduced-price meals at their school through the National School Lunch Program as soon as possible.

Read more in the department's Feb. 10 news release.

DHS partners with General Mills to fight hunger

Governor Tim Walz on Feb. 23 announced a new outreach campaign for Minnesotans struggling to afford nutritious food for themselves and their families during the COVID-19 pandemic. The campaign will connect families with personalized assistance and information about the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Read more in the news release from the Governor's Office.

Father and child speaking with doctor on a laptop computer

Study touts post-pandemic role for telemedicine

Using telemedicine to ensure safe access to vital health care services during the COVID-19 pandemic has offered several advantages to public health care program enrollees and health care providers, advantages that should continue after the pandemic ends, a recent study indicates.

Read more in the department's Feb. 23 news release.

Minnesota’s uninsured rate held steady in first half of 2020

New research shows Minnesota’s uninsured rate weathered the economic shock of the pandemic in the first half of 2020, staying at a historically low rate of about 5% through July 2020 due in part to government efforts to maintain health care coverage for low-income Minnesotans, support employers and people, and to make insurance available through public programs and MNsure.

Read more in the Feb. 2 news release from the Minnesota Department of Health.

In social media

Man with Bandaid on his bicep (suggesting recent shot) giving a thumbs-up sign.

Posted Feb. 18 on the DHS Facebook page:

Roll up your sleeves, Minnesota! Today, Governor Tim Walz launched the Minnesota COVID-19 Vaccine Connector, a digital tool to get all Minnesotans connected to their vaccine at the moment it becomes available. Check it out and sign up:

To see more posts like this and for timely updates on DHS news and events, follow DHS on Twitter and Facebook.

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In the news

Here are links to some news articles about DHS during February:

  • Minnesota can end deep poverty; let’s start with common sense changes. Nearly 250,000 Minnesotans live in deep poverty, which means they make no more than 50% of the federal poverty level. That’s $888 per month or less for a family of three or $517 or less for a single adult. Think about trying to live on that much. Read more in this column by Commissioner Jodi Harpstead that appeared in the Minnesota Reformer on Feb. 24.

    More than $150 million has been given to child care providers in Minnesota during pandemic. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released data back in September showing several states reported more than 50% of child care providers closed amid the pandemic. However, Minnesota ranked high among states on the percentage of child care facilities still open and operating. Learn more in this Feb. 10 KIMT TV story, which features an interview with Lisa Bayley, acting assistant commissioner for Children and Family Services at DHS.

  • Minnesota's Children's Justice Initiative celebrates 20 years of protecting vulnerable children. Twenty years ago, Minnesota began a dramatic overhaul of its child protective system. For too long, said visionary and former Chief Justice Kathleen Blatz, child protection had become "a feeder system to our prisons," with vulnerable children moving through a revolving door first as juvenile offenders and, later, as adult criminals. Today, the Children's Justice Initiative (CJI), a collaboration between the Minnesota judicial branch and Minnesota Department of Human Services, is a national model for how to find safe, stable and permanent homes for abused and neglected children. Read more in this Feb. 12 Star Tribune article.

DHS fact sheets

Fact sheets summarizing human services proposals for the 2021 legislative session are available on the DHS website. The fact sheets highlight human services proposals in the FY 2022-23 Governor's Budget Recommendations released by Governor Tim Walz on Jan. 26.

Other fact sheets recently updated: