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White Earth program earns top state honors

Members of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe Indian Child Welfare Program accepted their award from the Minnesota Department of Human Services for their work with human services program clients. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Minnesota Department of Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson honored eight organizations from across the state for their outstanding contributions to human services program clients.

The White Earth Band of Ojibwe Indian Child Welfare Program was one of the recipients.

Recipients of the 2013 Commissioner’s Circle of Excellence Awards were recognized at a ceremony at the Elmer L. Andersen Human Services Building in St. Paul.

Jesson said winners in the third annual Commissioner’s Circle of Excellence Awards stand out among many organizations providing critical human services programs and promoting healthy and productive communities in Minnesota.

“Our vision at the Department of Human Services is healthy people, stable families and strong communities, but we know that we won’t get there alone,” said Jesson. “The people and organizations being recognized today represent the very best of the many successful partnerships we have across Minnesota.”

The 2013 Commissioner’s Circle of Excellence Award recipients are:

  • White Earth Band of Ojibwe Indian Child Welfare Program, which provides child welfare services for children and families living on and off the White Earth reservation in the Becker, Clearwater and Mahnomen counties area. White Earth created an Indian child welfare program in 1987, a tribal court system in 1999, and assumed jurisdiction over child welfare matters on the reservation in 2007. This program has incorporated culture from first response through permanency and has been successful in achieving federal outcomes and improved service delivery.
  • Caring Hands Dental Clinic, a nonprofit dental clinic in Alexandria, providing quality dental services to individuals on Minnesota Health Care Programs or those who don’t qualify for state insurance but do not make enough to afford a private dental office.
  • Conifer Estates, a 20-unit supportive/transitional housing project in Bemidji, serving homeless families.
  • Fairview Partners, a nonprofit organization based in Edina, that has been providing care to seniors since 1996, including participants in the Minnesota Senior Health Options program.
  • Families Achieving Success Today (FAST), a pilot initiative funded and led by Ramsey County Workforce Solutions to provide integrated and co-located employment and mental and physical health services to Minnesota Family Investment Program clients with disabilities in Ramsey County.
  • Hunger Solutions Minnesota, a comprehensive hunger relief organization based in St. Paul, working to end hunger by taking action, advancing public policy and guiding grassroots advocacy on behalf of hungry Minnesotans and the diverse groups that serve them.
  • Therapy Dogs International Chapter No. 125, a chapter of Therapy Dogs International serving the Twin Cities metro area with more than 80 certified handler-dog teams.

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