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County family services pushing increased communication in effort to provide public greater understanding of mission

WILLMAR -- The Kandiyohi County Family Services Department is making a concerted effort to let people in the community know exactly what it does.

It's hoped the communication campaign will "challenge some of the prejudices" that people may have about the services that are provided and the people who receive them, said Jay Kieft, family services director.

The department has developed a PowerPoint presentation on general services as well as specific programs such as those for mental health. Department supervisors are being asked to be part of a speakers bureau and be available to talk about county programs to community organizations.

It's an opportunity to educate the public and partners "about the realities" and statistics that "fly in the face of some prejudicial sorts of understandings of what we do," Kieft said.

"We want to let people see and understand exactly what is possible, how we do what we do, why we do what we do and whether we're getting it done," said Kieft, giving credit to Commissioner Richard Falk for the idea of establishing a speakers bureau.

Part of the plan includes providing more information to county commissioners. Kieft told the County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday that he is making arrangements for each of the commissioners to participate in a "shadow" experience where they will spend an entire day in the family services department.

"You're on the right page," said Commissioner Richard Larson.

Commissioner Dennis Peterson said that experience will "help us make the right decisions" on future family service issues.

Kieft is also hoping to work with Willmar's local cable access channel to provide information about the department's programs.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

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