News from DHS for April 2021

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APRIL 2021

News from DHS archive

In this issue:

Governor Walz announces $135 million in federal funding to support child care in Minnesota

teacher reading to young children around a table

Governor Tim Walz announced that the State has received $135 million in federal relief funding to support child care in Minnesota. The new funding will support child care providers and improve access to child care for low-income families disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read more in the April 15 news release from the Governor's Office.

Building connections: Support available for families

Recognizing the great financial, emotional and physical strain over the past year – one like no other – the Minnesota Department of Human Services is urging families, including those involved in the child welfare system, to take advantage of supports to ease some burdens. During April, which was Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month, the department made an extra effort to raise awareness about these supports.

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

Grants promote employment, housing, direct support choices for people with disabilities

Innovations that help serve people with disabilities in Minnesota have received nearly $1 million in state grant funding. The Minnesota Department of Human Services recently awarded $991,171 to 10 service providers, supporting people with disabilities to live and engage with others in their communities and access improved employment opportunities.

Read more in the department's April 15 news release.

People living with autism share experiences on panel

Moving from basic awareness to understanding and acceptance of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) was the central theme of Autism Acceptance Month in April. In keeping with that theme, the Minnesota Department of Human Services invited people with ASD − as well as their friends, families and advocates − to attend a virtual panel discussion where adults on the autism spectrum shared stories about their lived experiences and answer questions. 

Read more in the department's April 13 news release.

Child Care Roundtable: What Minnesota Is Doing to Increase Availability of High-Quality, Affordable Child Care

Screenshot of online meeting with Commissioner Harpstead and eight others.

On April 5, Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Steve Grove and Department of Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead (above in lower left corner) were joined by staff of the Minnesota Children’s Cabinet and child care advocates and providers at a roundtable to discuss challenges providers have faced during the pandemic and the importance of high-quality, affordable child care in Minnesota’s economic recovery.

Read more in the April 7 news release from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

Reporting of the maltreatment of vulnerable adults is down during pandemic

Allegations of maltreatment happening to vulnerable adults in Minnesota trended downward in 2020. State and local experts who track this data believe the COVID-19 pandemic is causing the drop in reports.

Read more in the department's April 6 news release.

Youth who ‘aged out’ of foster care urged to return

The search is on for youth who left foster care because they no longer qualified for benefits when they turned 18 – or when they turned 21, if they were under extended foster care. New federal funding combined with temporary changes to eligibility requirements may allow them to continue getting financial assistance during the pandemic. 

Read more in the department's April 1 news release.

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newspaper beside a coffee cup

In the news

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

Tikki Brown

Special EBT cards helping families struggling financially during pandemic.
Local families struggling financially because of the pandemic are getting some help from the federal government. The Minnesota Department of Human Services recently issued pandemic electronic benefit transfer cards, also known as P-EBT, to families with children. See more in this April 28 CCX Media story, featuring an interview with Tikki Brown, Economic Opportunity and Nutrition Assistance director in the Children and Family Services Administration at DHS.

Dan Pollock

Pop-up vaccine clinics provide access to Minnesotans in need. 
Around 300 people in Golden Valley had the opportunity to receive the vaccine for COVID-19 at a pop-up clinic on Thursday, April 15. Twenty such pop-up clinics have been held and another dozen will take place before the end of April, according to DHS Assistant Commissioner Dan Pollock, who attended the event with Governor Tim Walz. Read more in this April 16 Bring Me the News article.

In social media

Two women beside a sign for Ombimindwaa Gidinawemaagaaninaadog

Posted April 16 on the DHS Facebook page:
We are so appreciative of our partners at the Red Lake Nation, which officially became an American Indian Child Welfare Initiative tribe this year. Families will now receive services in their own communities from tribal staff who work within the context of the culture, history and traditions of the Anishinaabe.

Above, Red Lake Nation social workers Teresa Day and Mika Barrett, the Indian child welfare team leads for the program, stand outside the new Ombimindwaa Gidinawemaaganinaadog (which is Anishinaabe for "uplifting our relatives") program office in Beltrami County.

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

DHS fact sheets

Fact sheets summarizing human services proposals for the 2021 legislative session are available on the DHS website. The fact sheets were updated to reflect the supplemental budget released by Governor Tim Walz on March 18.

Other fact sheets updated in April: