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The Public Health and Human Service Division of the county attorneys office is comprised of 12 attorneys and three investigators with staff located in Duluth Virginia and Hibbing. The division provides legal representation to the countys largest department the Public Health and Human Services Department. Patricia Shaffer leads the division. The divisions primary mission is to protect the health safety and welfare of the countys most vulnerable residents. This simply stated mission requires division staff to be proficient in a wide variety of legal matters. The staff provides legal representation to the countys child support unit. This starts with determining the childs parents. Last year the division established legal paternity legal fathers for 166 children. Once paternity is established the division assists the child support unit in establishing and modifying child support along with taking enforcement actions if a parent is not meeting their obligations to the child. The division also represents the department in child protection matters. When parents are unable or unwilling to provide basic health and safety for children often the only way to ensure the childs needs are being met is through the court system. Cases were brought to court last year regarding 159 families due to abuse andor neglect. The division provides representation for adult protective services as well. When an adult places themselves or others in danger as a result of a mental illness chemical dependency or developmental disability the division is asked to file a commitment petition to secure needed treatment. The types of situations involved range from someone not providing their basic needs of food clothing shelter or medical care or being threatening or assaultive or engaging in self- injurious behaviors. The division initiated 168 civil commitment actions last year. Finally the division was involved in 28 guardianship actions to help individuals unable to make responsible personal decisions for themselves such as those suffering from cognitive disorders like dementia and for whom there are no responsible relatives willing or able to provide needed care and supervision. The division also prosecutes juvenile delinquency. Children older than 10 years old are considered responsible for their own actions. Unfortunately some children make bad choices. Last year the division received 1528 referrals for criminal charges. The division was able to offer 22 of those children an opportunity for rehabilitation without court involvement. This was possible through a diversion program known as the Youth Accountability Program. The above areas represent the five largest areas of the divisions practice. Other areas of practice include advising the financial assistance unit of the PHHS Department on public assistance eligibility questions public assistance fraud investigations and prosecutions and benefit recovery. The division also advises the agency on a variety of issues such as data privacy licensing matters public health nuisance and lead abatement authorizations for final disposition of decedents and it reviews a wide variety of contracts for the department. Last year the division executed more than 870 contracts for PHHS. This year the division expects to see the most change in the area of child protection. Last year several Minnesota cases resulting in the death of a child have brought closer scrutiny to the states child protection system. The division will continue its strong partnership with the department in its shared mission of protecting the health and safety of children. 2014 ST. LOUIS COUNTY ATTORNEYS ANNUAL REPORT 6 PHHS DIVISION Public Health Human Services Division Patricia Shaffer PHHS Division Head Duluth Office Jennifer Barry Joseph Fischer Heather Korpela Clarissa McDonald Charles Schumacher Angie Shambour Benjamin Stromberg Joanne Vavrosky Hibbing Office Gayle Goff Stacey Sundquist Virginia Office Sharon Chadwick Renae Darland Investigators Katherine Finc William Klein Shawn Laine