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These people lose in gov't shutdown

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Barring a last-minute budget deal today or Thursday, a state judge will determine which state services are essential and the rest of state government will shut down Friday.

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A different judge has already ruled that Minnesota's court system is essential and will remain in operation during a shutdown.

One of the hardest hit areas in Becker County government will be Human Services, with programs that serve those least able to help themselves.

Human Services Director Nancy Nelson submitted to the Becker County Board Tuesday this list of programs that will be shut down, and who would be affected:

• Kids aging out of foster care: The Support for Emancipation and Living Functionally (SELF) program is funded by a federal grant, but it passes through (or is processed by) state workers. The county is reimbursed for expenses.

• People who need chemical dependency treatment, but don't have private insurance: The Consolidated Chemical Dependency Treatment Fund pays for CD treatment and is funded by the state. Becker County will continue to complete chemical use assessments and authorize treatment, but will not be responsible for the payment of treatment.

• Missing families: The Family Group Decision Making program is used for reunifying families, seeking relatives, etc. It is funded via a state grant that Becker County received on behalf of counties in the region.

A letter will be sent to each county stating that any funds that are spent from that grant will be the responsibility of that county, if the state does not reimburse them after the shutdown.

• People applying for Minnesota care: Becker County is reimbursed for processing applications on behalf of the state. The state contract ends Thursday.

• People who need Emergency General Assistance or Emergency Minnesota Supplemental Aid: Both program are state funded and Becker County has spent its allocation.

• Children and adults who could be healthier: The State Health Improvement Plan (SHIP) is another state funded program that is slated for cuts.

• Women who don't want to get pregnant: Family planning is another state program with an agreement that ends Thursday.

• Children with disabilities: The Family Support Grant is funded via the state, and provides grants to families with children who have disabilities.

• Moms looking for work: Employment services for the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) may or may not be on a list of essential services. The state gives Becker County an allocation that is passed on for employment services.

The Becker County Human Services Department has been going over service contracts with the County Attorney's Office to determine how much notice is required for the county to pull out of them.

"If you have 300 contracts and you have to look through each contract, that's a big job," Nelson said.

"Fortunately for the county, most of them have a 30-day 'out' clause," she added.

The county board approved a resolution stating that "the county will not fund state programs that have not been found essential."

That applies to all county departments, not just Human Services.

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