A committee in the Republican-controlled Minnesota Senate this morning (9am) takes a closer look at the state Human Services Department, after the legislative auditor found the agency did not adequately oversee distribution of tens of millions of dollars in housing assistance.  Anoka Senator Jim Abeler says there have been problems in other areas including child care programs, and “maybe it’s time” to split that department into separate agencies:

“They go from managing sex offenders to setting child care policy to running treatment for people with severe and profound disabilities — and then overseeing all of that with their licensing department.  And it’s just a lot, and I think it’s maybe too much to expect out of one department.”

In the agency’s response to the audit Commissioner Jodi Harpstead said the Human Services Department has been “working diligently” to improve its grant-making process, but it’s important to consider the pressures the agency faced during the pandemic to provide assistance to people in need.