WALKER -- Cass County Human and Veterans Services expenditures through September ran 67 percent of budget expectations, said Health, Human and Veterans Services Director Dorothy Opheim.
Part of this is due to the fact the county share of out-of-home child placement costs ran 71 percent of budget projections through September this year.
Overall, the county spent $1,987,737 to place children outside their own homes through September this year, with Title IV-E reimbursing $154,569 and other sources reimbursing $63,938 of those costs, leaving the county share $1,769,230.
There were 82 children in placement in September, costing $111,488, the lowest amount so far this year. September was also the lowest cost month of 2002.
Esther Wattenberg, University of Minnesota Center for Urban and Regional Affairs Child Welfare Division, appeared before the board to explain a study her agency is doing in Cass County and on the Leech Lake Reservation.
This county and reservation here were selected, because their human services agencies have a good history of cooperation, said Wattenberg.
After reviewing out-of-home child placement records here, she said she concluded, "Not one child was in out-of-home placement without being in imminent danger."
She said she expects this study of rural data to yield by January suggestions for preventive measures to keep more children in their own homes in the future.
Veterans Services Officer Faye Dudley reported she has made 616 telephone contacts with people within the county the first three quarters of this year and 217 contacts with people outside the county, but in Minnesota. Another 23 calls were received from people in other states from as far away as Washington, D.C., and Wyoming.
July through September, 122 county residents made personal visits to the Veterans Services Office at Walker, and 27 Minnesotans who live outside the county visited that office. One who lives in Canada and another who lives in Iowa visited the office.
She reported 23 people stopped at the satellite office in Cass Lake, four at Pillager, 78 at Pine River, 15 at Remer and two at Motley during July, August and September.
Dudley said she has had increased interest in veterans services from southern Cass residents this year and has tried to increase her outreach program in that area.
By combining trips for veterans to medical services at Minneapolis, St. Cloud, Brainerd and Fargo, Dudley said she expects to cut the number of trips from 308 last year to about 250 this year. Previously, many trips were made with only a single rider.
All volunteer drivers now must pass a veterans administration physical to ensure they are physically able to drive safely, she said.
Riders pay $15 per trip to medical services at Fargo or St. Cloud, $20 to Minneapolis and $10 to Brainerd. Out-of-county residents pay an additional $5 and are required to select a location inside the county where drivers can pick them up, Dudley said.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.