Flex Admin

Pennington County Human Services

We are responsible for administering financial programs, child support services and social services under state supervision. The Department assists indigent and low-income families and individuals to meet their basic needs or become self sufficient, provides child support services to custodial and non-custodial parents, and provides protective services to vulnerable adults and children and assists the elderly and the disabled to achieve their highest level of independence.

Business Hours

Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


No English 

Information and Resources

Financial Assistance

These programs are administered through Pennington County Human Services. For specific eligibility information, use the links to the State of Minnesota Department of Human Services.

Food Support / Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides electronic benefits to low-income households to supplement their income to buy food they need for nutritious well balanced meals. Single people and families with or without children may participate in the  SNAP Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Your income determines the benefit level. Benefits cannot be used to purchase alcoholic beverages, tobacco, pet food or non-food items.


Child Care Assistance Programs (CCAP)

This is a subsidized assistance program to help pay for childcare services. Child Care Assistance is for people who are employed or seeking employment.

Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP)

This program provides services and supports for low income families (families who have one or more children under age 19) and pregnant women.

Diversionary Work Program (DWP)

This is a four-month program that provides service and support to eligible families to help them move immediately to work.

General Assistance (GA)

These programs are for adults without children, who have a serious illness, disability, or other issues that limit their ability to work. Learn more about GA.

Housing Support (HS)

This is a program that assists with room and board for some people who cannot live in their own home. HS is for people who are age 65 and older, disabled and age 18 or older, blind, or unable to work.

Minnesota Supplemental Aid (MSA)

This program provides some services and supports for people whose disability, retirement or other income is not enough. MSA is for people who are age 65, or older, disabled and age 18 or older, or blind.

Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA)

This is a limited time monthly cash payment for certain refugees who have been in the USA eight months or less.

Emergency Programs (EA, EGA)

These programs offer one-time assistance for people who meet income eligibility guidelines who may be experiencing a financial crisis.  

How You Can Apply

Apply online by clicking here https://mnbenefits.mn.gov/. Your documents can also be submitted via the MNBenefits site.

 Or obtain a Combined Application Form (CAF) in one of the following ways:

  • Download the Combined Application Form from the DHS website.
    • Additional languages available upon request.
  • Mail your request to:
    Pennington County Human Services
    PO Box 340
    Thief River Falls, MN 56701
  • Call Pennington County Human Services at 218-681-2880.
  • Stop by Pennington County Human Services Office located in the Pennington County Government Center at 101 Main Ave. North,  Thief River Falls MN 56701.  Drop box is located in the back.
  • Please call to set up a time and date for an interview after you have filed your application. Be sure to include your contact information when you apply.

Medical Programs

Minnesota's Health Care Programs

Pennington County works with the State of Minnesota to provide medical assistance to residents in a variety of areas. For specific eligibility information, go to the State of Minnesota Department of Human Services website.

If you want to apply for Minnesota Health Care Programs (MHCP) on paper, it is important to use the correct application form. The form to use depends on your health care needs. For most people, the easiest way to apply for coverage is online at MNsure, unless you are in one of the population groups that needs to use one of the other forms listed on this page.

If you need help deciding which form to complete, contact Pennington County Human Services or DHS Health Care Consumer Support.

MNsure Application for Health Coverage and Help Paying Costs DHS-6696 (PDF) 
Use this form or apply online at MNsure to apply for the following programs and help:

  • Medical Assistance (MA)
  • MinnesotaCare
  • A tax credit and payment assistance to lower your cost for coverage

This form is also available in other languages.

MHCP Application for Certain Populations DHS-3876 (PDF) 
Use this form to apply for MA, including Medicare Savings Programs, if you meet any of these criteria:

  • You are 65 years old or older.
  • You are asking for help with only Medicare costs.
  • You are applying for a child in foster care.
  • You are 21 years old or older with no dependents and have Medicare coverage.
  • You receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
  • You are applying for Medical Assistance for Employed Persons with Disabilities (MA-EPD).

MHCP Application for Payment of Long-Term-Care Services DHS-3531 (PDF) 
Use this form to apply for MA payment of long-term-care services. Long-term-care services include nursing home care and services in your home through a waiver program.

Minnesota Family Planning Program Application DHS-4740 (PDF) 
Use this form to apply for coverage of family planning services only.

This application is also available in Spanish: Spanish - Minnesota Family Planning Program Application DHS-4740 (PDF).

MHCP Application and Renewal for Breast and Cervical Cancer Coverage DHS-3525 (PDF) 
Use this form to apply for MA if you have breast or cervical cancer and you were screened by the Sage Screening Program or the Screen Our Circle Program.

Transportation Requests/Reimbursements

To find more information and the documents required for reimbursement here is our Pennington County Transportation Packet.

Need to schedule a ride? Pennington County follows the Local County and Tribal Agency Health Care Access Services Plan to coordinate non-emergency medical transportation rides for medical appointments for clients using Medical Assistance and fee-for-service Medicaid. Rides can be arranged by contacting your health care plan or the county agency. Pre-authorization from the county agency for lodging is required.

Child Support Services

Services Available

  • Locating parents.
  • Establishing parentage.
  • Establishing and enforcing court orders for child support, medical support and child care support.
  • Adjusting court orders based on a Cost-of-living index.
  • Working with other states to enforce support when one parent does not live in Minnesota.
  • Collecting and processing payments.

Either parent of a child may receive certain support services.

Parents who do not receive public assistance can apply for services at their county child support office. They are charged a one-time fee.

Parents who receive public assistance for a child whose other parent does not live with them are automatically referred for child support services. These parents do not pay a fee.

Services we cannot help with

  • Legal seperation and divorce.
  • Visitation and custody.
  • We cannot answer legal questions about custody and visitation.
  • Spousal maintenance (alimony) establishment or enforcement.
  • collection of unpaid bills, property settlements or other debts not related to support obligations.
  • Legal advice or counsel.

You may wish to consult an attorney for assistance with the above issues.

For more detailed information you may call the Minnesota Department of Human Services Interactive Voice Response
case and payment information line at:
(651)215-5630 (Twin Cities Area)
1(800)657-3512 (outside Twin Cities calling area)

Fraud Prevention

Program Description

Fraud Prevention is a program designed to resolve issues in cases that meet criterial for potential fraud. Resolving these discrepancies maintains program integrity, resulting in a savings to the taxpayers in program costs by ensuring that funds are available to those who truly need assistance. Pennington County usually receives allegations of welfare fraud either from case workers who regularly work with recipients of public assistance or from the general public. If an investigation finds that a violation was intentional, the case is referred for administrative process or for criminal prosecution.


To report suspected fraud, please call the toll-free MN Fraud Hotline at 1-800-627-9977.

Children's services are provided to: Families with children under the age of 18 who are experiencing neglect or abuse, pregnant adolescents, adolescent parents under age 18 and their children, adolescents under the guardianship of the Commissioner of Human Services as state wards, emotionally distrubed children and adolescents and children and adolescents involved in or at risk of involvement with criminal activity.


Services Available

  • Child Protection Services: Screening reports of suspected abuse or neglect, conduct investigations, arrange for safe placement out of home when a child(ren) are in imminent danger of maltreatment and conduct case management and permanency planning activities in active cases.
  • Foster Care: Recruitment, licensing and continuing training of individuals to provide foster care for children who have been abused or neglected by their parents and canot safely remain at home.
  • Children's Mental Health Services: Provision of mental health services to children with emotional disturbance and their families.
  • Family Preservation Services: In-home services to prevent out-of-home placement or to help facilitate the safe return of the child(ren) to their parent(s). This service is provided to families who are at high risk of entering the child protection system and to families who are presently in the system due to substantiated maltreatment.
  • Adoption Services: Conducting home studies and placement in an adoptive home of children who are wards of the state (parental rights have been terminated by the court).
  • Child Placement: Out-of-home placement of children from abuse or neglect, for treatment of emotional disorders or chemical depencendy or placement due to deliquent acts committed by a juvenile.
  • Minor Parent Services: Services provided to a minor, who has a child, to develop a plan to ensure their safety and self-sufficiency.
  • Licensing Family Daycare Providers

Adult Services

Adult Services are provided to: Persons age 60 and over who are experiencing difficulty living independently and are unable to provide for their own needs; adults who are in need of protection and vulnerable: persons with developmental disabilities or a related condition; chronically and acutely mentally ill persons who are unable to provide for their own needs or to independently engage in ordinary community activities; persons whose chemical use patterns are either inappropriate or harmful.


Services Available

  • Services to elderly
  • Vulnerable adult protective services
  • Services to individuals with Developmental Disabilities
  • Services to persons with Mental Illness
  • Chemical Depencency Services


Services to the Elderly: Long-term care consultation for individuals 65 or older and their families including screening prior to admission to a nursing facility; eligibility for home and community-based services; case management for individuals receiving assistance through Alternative Care and Elderly Waiver programs.

Vulnerable Adult Protective Services: Investigation of reports of maltreatment of frail elderly and adults who have physical or developmental disabilities, are mentally ill or chemicaly dependent.

Licensing of Adult Foster Homes: Recruit, license and train foster care providers for adults.

Licensing of Family Day Care Homes: Provide information and an orientation for individuals interested in providing child care; license and re-license family day care providers.

Services to Individuals with Developmental Disabilities:Provides case management to eligible children and adults with developmental disabilities to help them obtain services to meet their individual needs.

Services to Persons with Mental Illness: Provide case management to adults with mental illness to help them obtain necessary mental health services, financial assistance and other supports.

Chemical Dependency Services: Chemical dependency assessments, determination of eligibility for program funding, referrals to detoxification, treatment, aftercare and other service supports.




MN Adult Abuse Reporting Center

Pennington County Adult Protection Prioritization Guidelines

Adult Local Advisory Council (LAC)

Child Care Assistance

Child Care Assistance is available to:Employed parents who are receiving assistance under the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) and parents whose income is at or below 70 percent of the state medial income and who are in need of childcare services in order to secure or retain employment or to obtain training and education necessary to secure employment. Individuals must complete a formal application in order to determine eligibility.


Programs Available

  • MFIP Childcare:MFIP participants who are employed or participating in work activities that are approved by a job counselor in a job search or employment plan can receive assistance in paying for childcare. MFIP families can get transitional childcare for up to one year after they go off MFIP.
  • Basic sliding Fee(BSF) Child care:Provides a subsidy for childcare costs for income eligible parents to work, look for work or obtain training and education for employment. Based on income, parents pay a portion of the childcare costs directly to their childcare provider.



2024-2025 Child Care Assistance Plan

2022-2023 Child Care Assistance Plan

2022-2023 Child Care Fund Plan


Online application for child care

Child Care Assistance

Child Care Licensing

Pennington County Human Services is responsible for licensing and monitoring family child care homes in Pennington County.  In the State of Minnesota, a person may do unlicensed care if they provide services to relatives and one unrelated family.  If a person is providing child care for more than one unrelated family, they are required to be licensed. 

The county provides orientation training, background studies, home interviews, safety checks, recommends licensure, conducts investigations, and supports providers in meeting the health and safety needs of the children in care. 

Applying for a License

If you are interested in applying for a family child care license or would like to discuss the program, please call 21-681-2880 and ask for the county licensing worker. 

The licensing process includes:

  • Background study
  • Home inspection by licensor
  • Possible inspection by fire marshal
  • Three reference letters
  • Licensing fee
  • Completed application
  • Initial training
  • Ongoing training
  • Understanding of MN Rule and Statutes

The licensing process may take 3-6 months to complete.


Counties may grant variances to rules that do not affect the health or safety of persons in a licensed program.  A variance is a written tool to be used for requesting prior authorization to allow for a short-term, temporary, deviation from a part of the licensing rule. 

Pennington County Family Child Care Variance Procedures

Variance Forms




Important Links

Guide to Becoming a Licensed Family Child Care Provider

  • Use the guide provided by the Department of Human Services to learn more information about

               becoming a licensed child care provider.

Family Child Care Website

Licensing Lookup

MN County: Pennington

License Type: Family Child Care

Rules and Regulations

Julie Sjostrand

Director of Human Services


101 Main Ave. North

 PO Box 340
Thief River Falls, MN 56701

Phone: 218-681-2880 ext. 227
Fax: 218-683-7013


Email: jasjostrand@co.pennington.mn.us

Mitch Anderson

Aging and Disability Services Supervisor

Email: mjanderson@co.pennington.mn.us

Stacy Anderson

Fiscal Supervisor

Email: sdanderson@co.pennington.mn.us

Tammy Johnson

Financial Assistance Supervisor

Email: tmjohnson@co.pennington.mn.us

Elizabeth Gerhart

 Mental Health & Children’s Services Supervisor

Email: elgerhart@co.pennington.mn.us