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Hennepin County Among The Worst In Social Aid?
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Post Hennepin County Among The Worst In Social Aid? 

According to the Legislative Auditor's Report, Hennepin County is ranked among the worst in the State in the delivery of social service aid.

This amazes me, and it doesn't.

On the one hand, Hennepin contains probably the largest raw numbers of people eligible for social services in the state, and expends in excess of $250 million per year on services and payments. Its service workers juggle large caseloads, and deal with some of the most serious social pathologies and concentrated poverty to be found in Minnesota. While the ideal application of social services is customized and family-intensive, the sheer numbers tend to reduce it to production line check writing with little time or staff for much else. The raw numbers of children in homes that should be removed to foster care far exceeds the supply. A steady stream of new clients arrives daily, and swells transitional homeless shelters to capacity. It is the port of entry for poverty in Minnesota.

On the other hand, the vast array of public and private services available in Hennepin exceed any county in the state. They are plentiful and easily accessible, whereas in other counties government is the only significant service provider. Hennepin also has the best employment opportunities in the state, if not the nation, with little excuse for able bodied persons not to find employment at some level. In many rural areas, employment simply does not exist, and welfare is an accepted supplement to a poor local economy- Aitkin has often led the State with levels exceeding 20% of county population. And Hennepin pays generously for its services. I was astonished to learn that grandparents are paid to provide foster homes to their own grandchildren, at a very lucrative rate. The county also pays a large amount to contract providers of services such as halfway and treatment facilities for prison releasees and the mentally ill, and has a disporportionate number of such facilities in Minneapolis which draw clientele from around the state.

Suffice to say that I would not accept the Legislative Auditor's Report at face value, without considering the unique demands and advantages of providing social services in Hennepin County as compared to its much poorer peers outstate.

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