News from DHS for May 2023

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May 2023

News from DHS archive

In this issue:

Text messages remind people to renew insurance

Be prepared to renew

Minnesotans who have Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare can now get text messages about renewing their health insurance.

The Minnesota Department of Human Services is texting important updates and announcements. The messages will prompt people when it’s time to take action to keep their insurance.

“We want people to stay covered,” said Commissioner Jodi Harpstead. “Text messaging is a common-sense way to reach them with important information.”

Texts from DHS about insurance will always come from the number “28343.” The reminders are not interactive, and no one should respond by texting personal information.

Enrollees will receive renewal forms by mail. The text messages will notify them to watch their mail for the renewal packet and remind them to submit the forms by the deadline.

Find out more about renewals, including how to update contact information and get texts:

More information is also in a department news release.

Families to receive last rounds of pandemic food benefits for children

P-EBT sandwich graphic

Eligible Minnesota families with children will start receiving pandemic food benefits for the current school year this month, and some families will get a final round of smaller summer benefits in July.

The Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer payments, or P-EBT, are expected to be the last of their kind as the federal public health emergency for COVID-19 wraps up.

“Support for families facing food insecurity is an important investment in their health, well-being and ability to thrive,” said Commissioner Jodi Harpstead. 

Beginning in May, P-EBT benefits totaling $10.4 million for the 2022-23 school year will go to the families of more than 29,000 students and 49,000 children ages 5 and younger. For the first time, some students who are homeschooled or attend online school will also be eligible, although their benefits will most likely arrive in July.

More information is in a department news release and online at

Foster parents recognized for offering stability, support

Foster Care Month in May offers an opportunity to recognize foster parents for providing care and stability to children in crisis across Minnesota. 

Children in crisis often experience mental health challenges from trauma and family disruption. Indeed, mental and behavioral health is the most significant unmet health need for children and teens in foster care. 

Minnesota counties and Tribal Nations are working to preserve family connections, with 62% of children in foster care in Minnesota placed with relatives. 

Counties and Tribes are seeking foster families with expertise – or willingness to learn – to support children with trauma and other mental health needs. Culturally appropriate mental health supports that recognize the identity, culture and lived experiences of children and youth help make services and supports more effective and result in better long-term outcomes. 

Learn the steps to become a foster parent. More information is also in a department news release.

LoopBack podcast: African American community leaders discuss healing, wellness

LoopBack podcast small version

Check out the newest episode of the LoopBack podcast. Part 1 of this two-part conversation features leaders in the Twin Cities’ African American and faith-based communities sharing their work to promote healing and wellness initiatives.

After listening, share your own story of healing and wellness on our new LoopBack podcast engagement page at

Listen and follow the LoopBack on Spotify, Stitcher, Anchor, Google and Apple podcasts:

In social media: Early childhood mental health consultations

Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation Services

Quality early childhood services actively support children’s mental health. When children are healthy and feel valued, they enter kindergarten ready to thrive.

Minnesota’s Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation system provides relational and equity-focused mental health support to early childhood care, education and service providers - at no cost.

When children are having a hard time, early childhood mental health consultants work with providers and families to help create a support plan. Consultants also work with providers who want to improve social and emotional health for themselves and all families they serve.

Check out the video to learn more. This video is also available on YouTube at

>> Follow DHS on Twitter and Facebook for timely updates on DHS news and events.

>> Follow our DHS Careers Facebook page for announcements of hiring events, job postings, internships and more.

Accessible formats

For accessible formats of this publication, write to, or call 651-431-2000 or use your preferred relay service.

Commissioner's award nominations open June 12

Circle of Excellence

We will begin accepting nominations for the Commissioner’s Circle of Excellence Awards on June 12.

Each year, the department recognizes excellence among human services providers, counties, Tribes, advocacy groups and other organizations that work in partnership with the agency to help people meet their basic needs and achieve their full potential.

While individuals also contribute to this cause, these awards acknowledge organizations. 

Criteria for the 2023 awards will be expanded to include recognizing organizations that strengthen equity in the human services system and reduces disparities in communities.

Details and the nomination form will be available in early June at

The nomination period will close June 30.

Extension allows parents, spouses to continue providing PCA services

A new extension of a pandemic benefit will allow parents of children under age 18 and spouses to continue serving as personal care assistance workers for their family members for another six months.

The federal government approved the extension until Nov. 11, 2023, and the final human services budget bill approved by the Minnesota Legislature and signed by Governor Tim Walz includes funding it.

More information is in a department news release.

Fact sheets updated

Adoption: Finding families for Minnesota's waiting children (PDF)

Foster care: Temporary out-of-home care for children (PDF) 

Minnesota Citizen Review Panels: Reaching out to protect children (PDF) 

Safe Place for Newborns law keeps infants safe (PDF)

newspaper beside a coffee cup

In the news

Medical Assistance, MinnesotaCare enrollees: Be prepared to keep your coverage as program eligibility checks restart: Recovery from substance use disorder requires a person to be able to focus on healing their whole self—mind, body and spirit. Having health care coverage is a critical resource that provides the help that people need to focus on healing without worrying about how they’re going to pay for it. Learn more in a Phoenix Spirit article by Kristine Preston, DHS Behavioral Health Division deputy assistant commissioner, and Dr. Nathan Chomilo, Minnesota’s Medicaid medical director.

Minnesota Legislature passes $72 billion budget: The Minnesota Legislature passed a new $72 billion two-year state budget. Among numerous funding allocations and initiatives, the legislation creates a new Department of Children, Youth and Families and boosts funding for the Child Care Assistance Program and homelessness prevention. It also provides aid for nursing homes and lays the groundwork for a public buy-in option for MinnesotaCare. Learn more in an MPR article.

'This will save lives': Minnesota nearly triples funding to combat youth homelessness: The state will invest $41.5 million in the Homeless Youth Act over the next two years. Advocates say the money will go much farther than many realize. The most recent homeless study in Minnesota found there are 4,872 homeless youth on any given night. Learn more in a KARE 11 story.

Textos avisarán a Minnesotanos sobre su renovación de seguros médicos: Los habitantes de Minnesota que tienen Medical Assistance o MinnesotaCare ahora pueden recibir mensajes de texto sobre la renovación de su seguro médico. El Departamento de Servicios Humanos de Minnesota (DHS, por sus siglas en inglés) envía mensajes de texto con actualizaciones y anuncios importantes. Los mensajes avisarán a las personas cuándo tomar las medidas necesarias para conservar su seguro. Aprende más en El Minnesota de Hoy.