News from DHS for August 2021

Minnesota Department of Human Services logo



News from DHS archive

In this issue:

Minnesota welcomes Afghan refugees

In a letter to President Joe Biden, Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan underscored their commitment to working with the federal government to continue Minnesota’s long history of welcoming refugees by assisting with the resettlement of Afghan individuals and families. 

The letter reads in part, "Minnesotans believe in treating all people with respect and dignity, and we have a strong tradition of welcoming those who seek refuge and supporting them to rebuild their lives and become part of our communities."

Some people with special immigrant visas already have arrived in Minnesota and more are expected in the coming weeks. Learn more about Minnesota's resettlement services at

Child support changes reflect modern families’ needs

Parent holding child's hand

With new legislation passed in 2021 to reflect modern economics and family dynamics, Minnesota’s child support program helps children get the financial support they need to reach their highest potential.

The Minnesota Department of Human Services, with its county and tribal partners, supports parents and their children through the child support program. Over the next several years, implementing the new legislation will better support children and their families in several ways, including by:

  • Eliminating interest on child support debt
  • Helping families, particularly families with low incomes, determine appropriate child support with updated child support guidelines
  • Providing tribal resources in communities.

Read more in the department’s Aug. 13 news release.

Study: Prevention efforts reduced substance use among Minnesota college students

Students’ use of alcohol and marijuana went down when several Minnesota colleges and universities implemented a variety of strategies to reduce substance use, according to a new report.

The study from Wilder Research, commissioned by the Minnesota Department of Human Services, examined federally funded prevention efforts that reached 60,000 students on seven campuses over four years. The Partnership for Success strategies ranged from personalized online feedback to healthy outdoor activities, responsible beverage server trainings, classroom presentations, marketing campaigns, policy changes and educational sanctions.

The report found significant reductions in underage alcohol use on five campuses, and in young adult marijuana use on two campuses – declines of five percentage points or more.

Read more in the department's Aug. 30 news release.

In social media

SNAP Market Bucks FB post

More than 386,000 Minnesotans currently receive #SNAP benefits. With a monthly average of $125.66 per person, finding healthier food options can be an issue for families with low incomes. With the Market Bucks initiative, the state will match up to $10 of participants’ SNAP benefit per day at a participating farmers market.

For instance, if a SNAP recipient goes to the farmers market and provides $10 in SNAP benefits at the Market Bucks booth, they will receive $20 in Market Bucks to be used at the market.

The Market Bucks program is administered by Hunger Solutions Minnesota. It not only supports local businesses and farmers – it also creates healthier futures for Minnesotans. Find your local market at

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

Get email updates

For accessible formats of this publication or assistance with additional equal access to human services, write to, call 651-431-2911, or use your preferred relay service.

To stay abreast of the State's response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on people whom DHS serves and supports, sign up for email updates.

SNAP benefits increase Oct. 1

SNAP logo

Starting Oct. 1, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program food benefits are increasing. Across the nation, SNAP-participating households will receive on average an increase of $36 per person per month – or about $1.20 per day.

The increase is the result of the U.S. Department of Agriculture evaluation of the Thrifty Food Plan – which is used to calculate SNAP benefits. This is the first update to the Thirfty Food Plan in more than 45 years.

Learn more about the change and what went into the USDA’s re-evaluation of the Thrifty Food Plan:

"Reinvention" webinar is Oct. 7

Registration is open for the Age & Disabilities Odyssey webinar on "Reinvention" - exploring the ways service systems were reinvented to overcome the challenges brought by the pandemic. The webinar will be held Thursday, Oct. 7, from 9 a.m. to noon. Learn more and register by 4 p.m. Oct. 4 at

newspaper beside a coffee cup

In the news

Minnesota set to take in dozens of Afghan refugees. The Afghan population in Minnesota is small, only around 500 people, but it could grow because the state has agreed to accept dozens of recent Afghan evacuees. Read more in a FOX 9 article.

Editorial: Much-needed hike for SNAP benefits. More than 400,000 Minnesotans rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to feed themselves and their families. It is a critical part of the safety net, reaching every corner of the state and across every age group, from infants to seniors. But as vital as this program is, its benefits have remained downright meager. Read more in a Star Tribune editorial in support of the upcoming increase in SNAP benefits.

Children's facility in Willmar honored as a Top Project of 2020. “We just really tried to create an environment that would aid in the treatment of the kids,” said Mohagen Hansen Architecture's Mark Hansen of the Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health Hospital, the only state-operated psychiatric hospital for children. Read more in a Finance & Commerce article.

colorful lobby of child and adolescent hospital in willmar

See more photos of the new facility on the Mohagen Hansen architecture firm's website.