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Consumers now have 24/7 access to information about child care safety

Parents searching for child care for their baby, a son concerned about his mother's adult day care program, family members evaluating services for their sibling with developmental disabilities -- all of these consumers now have 24/7 access to important information about licensed programs with the expansion of information available on the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) website.

The most frequently requested public documents about DHS licensed programs are now online, giving consumers quick access to important health and safety information about child care centers, group homes for people with disabilities, and a range of other services for children and vulnerable adults. Six types of public documents -- including compliance reports and public summaries of maltreatment investigations -- are now available through the DHS Licensing Information Lookup: Members of the public can subscribe to email alerts when new documents are posted.

Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson said the department is committed to the protection of the health and safety of people receiving care in licensed programs.

"Critical decisions, such as choosing a chemical dependency treatment program for your family member, often must be made quickly," Jesson said. "Easy access to these documents will help drive informed decisions and enhance the safety of children and vulnerable adults."

Programs licensed by DHS include child care, foster care, treatment and various supportive services for people with mental illness, chemical addiction, developmental disabilities, as well as for Minnesota's aging population. The documents have always been available to the public upon request; technological improvements have made it possible to share them online. Initially the documents available through the DHS Licensing Information Lookup will date back to July 1, 2010.

"DHS will continue its efforts to expand and improve the site, making licensing information more accessible to the public," Jesson said.

DHS Licensing Information Lookup, first launched in 2006, until now has included basic information about the licensure status -- active, conditional, suspended or revoked -- for approximately 24,100 DHS-licensed providers, along with contact information.