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Douglas County has been recognized by Prevent Child Abuse Minnesota for efforts in eliminating child maltreatment. The Blue Ribbon Award was presented to commissioners at the county board meeting on Tuesday, May 14 in Alexandria. Pictured are: Douglas County Social Services Director Mike Woods, Wings Father's Program Coordinator Mike Klein and Douglas County Commissioners Bev Bales, Charlie Meyer, Dan Olson, Jim Stratton and Jerry Johnson. (Contributed photo)

County honored for preventing child abuse

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Douglas County commissioners were presented with the Blue Ribbon Award at Tuesday's county board meeting. The honor is given to counties and tribes that have exhibited excellence in efforts to prevent child abuse and neglect.

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The Blue Ribbon Award, created in 2003, has been given to 60 counties and five tribes in Minnesota. Douglas County received recognition in 2013 based on continued work in maintaining awareness of ending child maltreatment in the community, explained Mike Klein, with Wings Family Support Services.

Klein was recently named Outstanding Parent Group Facilitator by Prevent Child Abuse Minnesota for his role in the Alexandria Circle of Parents Chapter. Klein is also a West Central Regional Fathers' Program coordinator for Wings.

FRAUD CONTRACT

Commissioners approved an annual contract for a state-funded county-administered fraud prevention investigation program for the fourth year in a row. The contract is 100 percent reimbursable by the state of Minnesota, said Mike Woods, Douglas County Social Services director. The investigator serves the region covering Douglas, Grant, Pope, Stevens, Swift, Traverse and Wilkin counties.

"It's been going quite well," Woods said.

Fraud investigations help uncover discrepancies in paperwork and stop overpayments of welfare funds.

AFFORDABLE CARE ACT

Woods elaborated on what the county can expect from the federal government in regard to the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare.

Best case scenario, is the county can expect an increase of about $154,000 in 2014.

"I hesitate to put that in stone," Woods said.

Reimbursement rates vary between 50 and 75 percent depending on the service. Woods anticipates approximately $10,000 from the federal government this year to help cover costs incurred by the county for the increased caseload beginning on October 1.

DeyCrystal Dey Crystal Dey is a staff reporter for the Echo Press. Originally from Minnesota's Iron Range, Dey worked for newspapers in North Dakota, Florida and Connecticut before returning to her home state to join the Echo Press in October 2011. Dey studied Mass Communications at Minnesota State University Moorhead with an emphasis in Online Journalism. Follow Staff Reporter Crystal Dey on Twitter at @CrystalDey_Echo.

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Crystal Dey

Crystal Dey is a staff reporter for the Echo Press. Originally from Minnesota’s Iron Range, Dey worked for newspapers in North Dakota, Florida and Connecticut before returning to her home state to join the Echo Press in October 2011. Dey studied Mass Communications at Minnesota State University Moorhead with an emphasis in Online Journalism. Follow Staff Reporter Crystal Dey on Twitter @Crystal_Dey.

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