Cass County Board: Revolving door in SHIP grant administration a concern

WOODROW TOWNSHIP--Cass County has struggled to keep a trained person to oversee a Minnesota Department of Health Statewide Health Improvement Project grant.

WOODROW TOWNSHIP-Cass County has struggled to keep a trained person to oversee a Minnesota Department of Health Statewide Health Improvement Project grant.

There have been six leads in the position since 2009. The latest resigned effective Sept. 1, according to Jeri Seegmiller, Cass County Health, Human and Veterans Services public health team leader.

The county is now in the second year of a five-year SHIP grant, but has been unable to use much of the grant money in the last two years. Unused money cannot roll over into a future year, she said.

Currently, Seegmiller said, she is evaluating whether Cass County could contract with a private business to manage the grant for the county or whether the county should just cancel the grant for now.

SHIP grants are intended to help promote healthy communities, Seegmiller said.


Projects Cass County has accomplished using SHIP in the past include funding and promoting EBT use at farmers markets, signs for safe bike trails, food safety training for schools, school and community gardens, breastfeeding areas in workplaces and tobacco education-point of sale training.

Seegmiller will report back to the county board after researching contract options.

Sarah Smythe, financial assistance supervisor, obtained board approval Tuesday to extend an agreement with Minnesota Department of Human Services through 2019 to provide child care assistance to qualifying families.

The county also will continue using Lakes and Prairies services under a contract to oversee child care providers and to screen applicants for this assistance.

Smythe said there are 48 Cass County families receiving child care services under the grant. There has been enough funding for all qualified people who applied and will be sufficient funding through the end of this year, she said. There is no waiting list.

The board will approve the rate for Lake and Prairies' for extending the contract with the county at a later date.

The commissioners approved agreements with Pillager, Pine River-Backus, Walker-Hackensack-Akeley and Northland Remer schools to offer child and teen checkups and early childhood screenings.

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