Building connections: Support available for families
April is Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month
April 26, 2021
Recognizing the great financial, emotional and physical strain over the past year – one like no other – the Minnesota Department of Human Services is urging families, including those involved in the child welfare system, to take advantage of supports to ease some burdens.
During April, which is Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month, the department is making an extra effort to raise awareness about these supports. A one-stop website can help connect families to:
• Child care assistance, including a map showing available openings and information about Early Learning Scholarships.
• Food, including the Minnesota Food HelpLine, links to food shelves and information about how to apply for monthly benefit cards that can be used to buy groceries.
• Health and dental care, including options for Minnesotans who don’t have insurance and need help staying healthy and safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
• Financial assistance, including help with emergency needs, such as rent and utility bills during this time of economic uncertainty.
Events of the past year have laid bare long-standing disparities in outcomes, caused by systemic racism, between Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities and white communities, said Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead.
“The pandemic, civil unrest and economic struggles have caused significant hardship in Minnesota communities, especially BIPOC communities,” Harpstead said. “Providing support and reducing financial burdens for parents and caregivers in culturally grounded ways can make a huge difference for children. Families and communities know what is best for their children, and by working together, we can ensure they are well cared for.”
To support families and communities as they build connections, DHS and its partners are:
• Directing funding to community organizations to support innovative programs for families at the local level.
• Promoting access to housing, food, child care and other social services that support families in their homes, schools and communities.
• Advocating for continued federal relief to offset the financial stress many families are under right now.
For more information, see the fact sheets about the child protection in Minnesota and child abuse prevention on the DHS website.