County Board hears update on Family Services

The Isanti County Board heard a presentation from Penny Messer, Director of Isanti County Family Services, at its July 15 meeting.

Isanti County Family Services provides a wide variety of services to the county, and funding comes from a several areas, Messer informed the board.

About one-third of the funding comes through the counties levy (33%), state funding (31%), and federal funding (29%). The remaining funds come from fees and other miscellaneous sources.

One of the services provided is financial assistance, which includes cash benefits, employment and training, food support, child care assistance, health care programs, and fraud prevention and investigation.

This service is supported by 16 staff, and a a point in time count Dec. 31, 2019 found a total of 2,232 total cases in 2019, with 2,171 of those cases being active. Of those, 375 were receiving cash assistance, and 1,056 were receiving food support. There were 2,882 MNSure cases, and 1,400 medical assistance cases. The county assisted with 13 burials. 

The county had received 191 fraud prevention cases with total over payments of $258,633, saving $97,154 in case benefit amount reductions.

The county also assists with child support, being mandated to enforce child support orders, determine paternity, establish orders, modify orders, and collect support. It is supported by 11 staff, serving 1,828 families in 2019. Of those families, 114 received cash assistance and 782 no longer received cash assistance due to the receipt of child support; 932 families never received cash assistance.

Services mandated in the area of children services include intake and screening of all reports of child maltreatment, investigating screened-in reports, providing placement or court intervention for screened-in cases, child welfare, adoption services, child foster care licensing, and family day care licensing.

Children services is supported by 17 staff, who received 1,652 intakes in 2019 and completed 183 child protection family assessments/investigations. There were 72 child welfare assessments completed in 2019.

A total of 94 children were in placement in 2019 in 32 licensed foster care home, which were primarily relatives of the children placed. The county licensed 40 child care homes.

For the county’s parent support outreach program, 29 families were referred for assessment and nine cases were opened for county management.

The total number of individuals who received children services, including post adoption, day care, and foster licensing was 1,622, of which 949 were children ages zero through 18.

There are 15 staff who oversee the county’s behavioral health services, which is mandated to provide children’s mental health and adult mental health services, pre-petition screening for mental health and chemical dependency, oversee the civil commitment process for mental health and chemical dependency, provide chemical dependency assessments, provide placement services for chemical dependency, pay for detoxification, and licenses adult foster care.

The county provided 101 chemical dependency assessments in 2019, with 219 chemical dependency cases. There were 191 adult mental health cases and 94 children mental health cases. The county licensed 42 adult foster homes. There were 30 children in placement in 2019.

Out of home placement for children’s services, behavioral health, and probation totaled 191 in 2019 costing the county $1.3 million.

Another service offered by the county is aging and disability services, which is supported by 16.5 staff. Services in this category include adult protection, guardianship, and MnCHOICES.

There 254 total intakes for adult protection, and 341 allegations of suspected abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation. There were 40 investigations. 

MnCHOICE new assessments totaled 242, with 470 re-assessments. The county managed 500 cases, serving 625 adults and 132 children.

The net revenue collected by the county through parent collection fees, public assistance collections, and medical assistance estate recovery totaled $272,276 in 2019.

Isanti County Family Services is supported by 15 fiscal and office support staff who provide direct support to all units of family services, answering 211 incoming calls per day for the 6,213 agency cases in 2019.Approximately 75 clients and professionals are greeted by the office support staff daily.

Odds and ends

In other business, the board:

•Approved a letter of support for a grant being applied for to help with concrete costs at Veterans’ Park.

•Appointed Isanti County Board commissioners Susan Morris and Dave Oslund to the election canvassing board for the Aug. 11 primary election.

•Approved a resolution for Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs Operational Enhancement grant.

•Approved a rdraft plan for Lower St. Croix Comprehensive Watershed Management.

•Met in closed session to determine the asking price for county-owned property to be sold located at 244 Birch Street South in Cambridge (the former library building).

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.