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DHS funds effort to support involvement of both parents
DHS recently awarded the Co-Parent Court of Hennepin County a one-time grant of more than $260,000. Co-Parent Court provides free parenting help for unwed parents participating in the program and offers services including paternity establishment, education classes on wellness and health, and support from outside organizations that work in tandem with the Co-Parent Court community. The Minnesota Family Investment Program Innovations Fund grant is supporting co-parent staff and services work beginning June 1 through Dec. 31, 2013.
Infant deaths in child care down, more work needed
Action taken by DHS, providers, and local partners to address a dramatic increase in the deaths of infants in child care has helped to stall the alarming trend, according to the 2012 annual report on licensing activities by the DHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) (PDF). Infant deaths occurring in child care settings was one of four “emergent issues” identified in the report released April 3. More information is in a news release about the report.
Safe Place for Newborns law expanded
In response to tragedies involving abandoned infants over the last several years, DHS and the state Legislature recognized the need to strengthen Minnesota’s Safe Place for Newborns law. The amended law allows a mother, or someone acting with her permission, to safely surrender her unharmed infant born within the past seven days to a designated safe place. A safe place includes a hospital, an urgent care facility during its hours of operation, or an ambulance that is dispatched in response to a 911 call. Previously, the law allowed for the safe surrender of infants born within 72 hours, and designated safe places were hospitals only.
Guide aids child welfare professionals working with LGBTQ youth
A practice guide issued by DHS aims to help child welfare workers effectively support LGBTQ youth in the child welfare system. Working with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning/queer youth (PDF) covers a variety of topics and offers several approaches to strengthen and affirm the approximately 5 percent to 10 percent of foster care youth nationally who identify as LGBTQ. Included in the publication are statistics for the LGBTQ foster care population as well as guidance on preserving family relationships and preventing out-of-home placements, engaging and building relationships with LGBTQ youth, and ensuring safety in placements and in residential care, along with special considerations for working with transgender youth and an index of LGBTQ terms and resources.
Report highlights signs of progress for children
Parents, educators and community members have a resource at their disposal when looking for information about their school-age children: the School-age Indicators of Progress: Minnesota’s Learning Guidelines for Ages 5 to 12 (PDF). Information in the report guides those working with children in this age range to create positive, enriching environments as children undergo fundamental social and developmental changes in their lives.
Timeline extended for adults to access food program
Unemployed and underemployed Minnesotans now have a little more help purchasing healthy food. The U.S. Department of Agriculture extended its timeline to allow able-bodied adults without dependents an exemption from work provisions until the end of the federal fiscal year, September 2013, enabling them to access food through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The waiver was first made available to states in January 2009. Minnesota is one of 46 qualifying states or geographic areas receiving the waiver now. Able-bodied Minnesotans are encouraged to voluntarily use SNAP employment and training services until they can find sustainable work.
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