A state grant for mental health screenings and recognition for excellence in case management were a couple of the highlights from MNPrairie’s past year.

MNPrairie provides human services in Waseca, Dodge and Steele counties. The organization on Tuesday presented an update on its 2017 and the first quarter of 2018 to Waseca County’s Board of Commissioners.

Jane Hardwick, executive director of MNPrairie, told commissioners that case manager Jessica Fenlason, who works out of the Waseca office, was recognized by southern Minnesota human services nonprofit MRCI as a “case manager of excellence” for her work with clients.

MNPrairie also received a state grant in the amount of $95,000 to provide child welfare/juvenile justice mental health screenings, assessments and services for 2018. This came as a result of the organization facilitating mental health screenings for children served in child protection/welfare and juvenile probation.

“Our staff is doing a really good job in human services in terms of trying to get kids in for mental health screenings when that’s appropriate,” said Hardwick.

MNPrairie in 2017 expended $19,000 over its allocation for child care assistance payments, but the state reallocated that amount in underspending from other counties to MNPrairie, so the organization hasn’t had to have a waiting list for access to child care.

“Our perspective on child care is that it’s a really important investment for some of our lower wage families in order to keep them in the workforce,” Hardwick said.

The organization serves almost 300 children and nearly 180 families each month across the three counties.

Hardwick also shared some results of a state review of MNPrairie’s food assistance program, SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program).

The review covered July to September of last year. In most cases, MNPrairie’s program exceeded the statewide average and/or the state standard.

The income and health care assistance unit of MNPrairie in 2017 saw a caseload growth over the prior year of 5.62 percent in eligibility and .81 percent in child support. It had nearly 9,800 eligibility appointments and processed 1,000 more eligibility documents than the prior year.

Reporter Jacob Stark can be reached at 837-5451 or follow him on Twitter @WCNjacob.

Covering Waseca, Janesville, and New Richland.

Load comments