News from DHS for November 2023

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November 2023

News from DHS archive

In this issue:

Governor Walz announces $5 million for food shelves

Commissioner Harpstead, Lt. Gov. Flanagan and partners at the food shelf funding announcement

Ahead of the holiday season, Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan announced $5 million in new funding for Minnesota’s food shelves. With significant increases in food shelf demand this season, Governor Walz will allocate $5 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds for Minnesota’s seven regional food banks.

Lieutenant Governor Flanagan made the announcement Nov. 20 at Second Harvest Heartland, alongside Second Harvest Heartland CEO Allison O’Toole, Neighborhood House President Nancy Brady, and Minnesota Department of Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead.

“No family should go hungry this holiday season,” said Governor Walz. “As we continue working to lower costs, we’re making sure our state’s food banks can keep helping families get what they need. We’re grateful for the continued collaboration with partners like Second Harvest that are helping Minnesotans all year round.”

"Food shelves and banks step up to help Minnesotans put food on the table when resources are stretched thin,” said Lieutenant Governor Flanagan. “I’m proud our administration can do our part in providing an additional $5 million to support the year-round work that connects Minnesotans with food resources, especially to meet the rising demand during the holiday season.”

The funds will be allocated to Minnesota’s seven regional food banks to support the purchase and distribution of in-demand foods at food shelves.

This funding comes in addition to $5 million in emergency food shelf funding the Governor signed into law in February.

New hub to streamline Minnesota child care licensing

Child care stock image 2

A new, user-friendly web platform is making it easier for child care providers to complete licensing forms online, as Minnesota continues to implement improvements that support the child care industry.

The department's new Provider Hub enables certified and licensed child care providers to apply for or maintain a license or certification, submit required reporting and register with the state’s Child Care Assistance Program.

The hub opened to Minnesota’s 1,815 licensed child care centers on Nov. 1, after launching earlier with certified child care centers. Next April, the platform will expand to family child care providers.

“Child care is essential to our economy, our communities and our families and children,” said Commissioner Jodi Harpstead. “It’s important to have an easy-to-use licensing system so our hard-working providers can get everything they need, all in one place, online. This will allow providers to spend more time with the children and less time on the paperwork.”

In the Provider Hub, licensed and certified child care programs will be able to keep their information up to date and submit reports electronically, substantially reducing their administrative burdens. The online platform will also streamline their annual inspection process, because providers won’t need to re-enter information that hasn’t changed since their last inspection.

“I really like using the Hub,” said a leader of a certified child care center in an anonymous feedback survey. “It’s nice to have all information in one place and makes it easy to submit info to our licensor when it’s needed.”

The Provider Hub works on mobile devices, tablets and computers, and is translated into Spanish, Somali and Hmong.

In social media: Help with health care renewals

MA and MinnesotaCare return your forms video social post

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Circus of the Heart celebrates adoption

two boys in front of a large poster of hundreds of names of adopted children

It was a day filled with games, music, prizes, laughter, family connections and hours of fun as families who adopted more than 1,000 foster children and kin who welcomed more than 600 children into their families permanently last year, and those looking for information on adoption, gathered earlier this month at the 26th annual Celebrate Adoption: Circus of the Heart event as part of Adoption Awareness Month in Minnesota.

Children like Caleb and Lincoln also were able to see their names among more than 1,000 on the poster listing those adopted from foster care last year.

Learn more about adoption of more than 500 children still waiting for families at:

Fact sheets updated

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

Adoption support: Working together to help families (PDF)

Relative Permanency Services: Reducing time in foster care (PDF) 

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program helps people with low incomes buy food (PDF)

Increasing access to federal disability benefits (PDF) 

Minnesota's resettlement programs (PDF)

newspaper beside a coffee cup

In the news

Opinion: A life-changing reform for families with disabled kids: During the 2023 legislative session, lawmakers eliminated fees for many, though not all, families with children with disabilities accessing services through the Medical Assistance program. The change is expected to help about 10,000 families across the state. It's an under-the-radar reform that merits both praise and a spotlight, wrote the Star Tribune editorial board.

Youth mental health facility opens in East Bethel: A ceremonial ribbon cutting was held at the Nexus-East Bethel Family Healing psychiatric facility for youth, which opened its doors on Nov. 29. Commissioner Jodi Harpstead, who attended the ceremony, said the department estimates that kids facing mental health issues that interfere significantly with home and school affect 9 percent of the state’s youth. Learn more in a Minnesota Women's Press article.

Minnesota invests $5 million in food banks ahead of holidays: Minnesota has a growing food insecurity need. According to Commissioner Jodi Harpstead, the state will surpass a total of 7-million food shelf visits by the end of this year, a new state record. Harpstead joined Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan in announcing additional funding for seven regional food banks in Minnesota. Learn more in a Northern News Now story.

Minnesotans give lawmakers ideas on how to cut child care costs for families: A public hearing was held Nov. 13 by the Minnesota House Children and Families Finance and Policy Committee focused on Minnesota’s 2023 budget and its impact on early child care and learning. Learn more in a WCCO News story.

Event encourages more Minnesotans to adopt: Families across Minnesota came together Nov. 4 to celebrate adoption while advocating the need for more people to get involved. DHS hosted its 26th annual “Circus of the Heart” event at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. Learn more in an MPR article.