County board actions: child well-being director appointed, new coordinator will implement strategy to end HIV epidemic, funding for community and economic developing along Bottineau LRT

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Contact: Carolyn Marinan, Communications, 612-348-5969

County board actions

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Child well-being director appointed to lead new child protection focus

The board appointed Michelle Farr to guide county staff carrying out the county’s new child well-being focus. This approach focuses on preventing child maltreatment by prioritizing children’s physical, emotional, social, relational health and development.

Hennepin County selected Farr for this position following an extensive national search. She brings 30 years of related experience to the county, most recently serving as deputy director of entry services with the Washington, D.C., Child and Family Services Agency.  

Hennepin County has undertaken significant efforts to advance recommendations laid out in October 2016 by the Child Protection Oversight Committee.

In an effort to stabilize the child protection workforce and allow for reasonable workloads, the county has hired nearly 50 additional child protection workers this year. By the end of 2017, the county plans to hire more than 60 additional staff. 

Hennepin County has also launched several efforts aimed at improving quality, creating community partnerships and reducing disparities to enhance the system in meeting the needs of children.

The Child Well-being Advisory Committee will meet for the first time Wednesday to review progress on child well-being initiatives.

Read more about Farr’s appointment.

Read more about the county’s new child protection focus.


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New coordinator will implement strategy to end HIV epidemic

The board accepted $2.5 million of federal grant funding to expand HIV/AIDS services and employ a staff member who will oversee Positively Hennepin, the county’s HIV strategy. 

The new strategy implementation coordinator, Jake Maxon, most recently served in the Obama White House Office of National AIDS Policy. In his new role, Maxon will build partnerships between the county, healthcare providers and leaders, HIV advocacy and service organizations, and communities that the HIV epidemic directly affects. Building these partnerships will help achieve Positively Hennepin’s vision of a county where residents living with HIV have healthy, vibrant lives; there are no new HIV infections; and all have equitable access to HIV prevention and care. 

Hennepin County has received federal Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program funding from the Minnesota Department of Human Services since 2000. This additional grant funding will continue to expand medical and support services to address disparities in HIV health-related outcomes. 

Read more about this action.

Read more about Positively Hennepin.

Funding will support community and economic development along Bottineau LRT

The board accepted $550,000 from the McKnight Foundation for community and economic development along the METRO Blue Line Extension (Bottineau LRT), a 13-mile expansion of the existing METRO Blue Line. Grant funding will allow Bottineau Community Works partner cities to provide services to support small businesses, engage community members and activate public spaces along the corridor. Funding will provide technical assistance and community capacity building around issues of density and transit oriented development. 

Read more about this funding award.

Read more about Bottineau LRT Community Works.

Hennepin County awards school recycling grants

The board awarded the following two school recycling grants totaling $90,000:

  • Minneapolis Public Schools: $40,000 to improve recycling and start organics composting at Anderson United Community School, Seward Montessori, Southwest High School and Webster Elementary.
  • Richfield Public Schools: $50,000 to add recycling stations outside buildings and athletic fields, improve organics and recycling collection and install bottle-filling stations to reduce waste from plastic water bottles.  

Hennepin County will award nine additional grants totaling approximately $60,000:

  • Arete Academy in St. Louis Park will start organics collection, improve recycling and replace disposable food ware with compostable alternatives.
  • Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Minneapolis will improve and expand recycling throughout the school.
  • Edina Public Schools will expand and improve their recycling and organics recycling program throughout the middle schools and high school.
  • Good Shepard School in Golden Valley will improve and expand recycling throughout the school and install bottle-filling stations.  
  • Heilicher Minneapolis Jewish Day School in St. Louis Park will start organics collection, improve recycling and replace disposable food ware with compostable alternatives.
  • International Spanish Language Academy in Minnetonka will start organics collection, add outdoor recycling stations and replace disposable food ware with compostable items at events.
  • LoveWorks Academy in Golden Valley will expand recycling throughout the school and add outdoor recycling stations. 
  • Noble Academy in Brooklyn Park will start composting on-site and perform neighborhood clean-ups.
  • Venture Academy in Minneapolis will expand recycling and organics recycling to the school’s new addition and start recycling at events.

Learn more about the grant awards.

Learn more about school recycling in Hennepin County.

County approves maximum levy and plan amendments for watershed management commissions

The board approved maximum levy amounts and plan amendments for several watershed management commissions to accomplish water quality improvement projects targeted to reduce phosphorus and sediment in lakes, streams and rivers. 

  • Bassett Creek Watershed Management Commission: $1,346,815 for projects to improve water quality of Northwood Lake and Bassett and Plymouth creeks.
  • Elm Creek Watershed Management Commission: $490,000 for projects to improve water quality of Fish Lake, the Crow River, Elm Creek and the Mississippi River.
  • Shingle Creek and West Mississippi watershed management commissions: $295,000 and $104,800 for projects to improve water quality of Shingle Creek and the Mississippi River and throughout the watersheds.

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