Mr. Christopher E. Finch
Commissioner

Mrs. Michal Rhymer-Browne
Assistant Commissioner St. Thomas

Carla Benjamin
Acting Assistant Commissioner St. Croix

U.S. Virgin Islands

Department of Human Services

Press Releases


1/30/2014

Basic Digital Literacy Courses deadline extended to February 28.

Basic Digital Literacy Course – Please visit the web link to find out more, and attached is a flyer with information about Digital Literacy Coaching which I do offer at this Public Computer Center (at the Turnbull Library).  There is a list of PCCs on our web site; there are more than 20.  While the flyer says 10am and 3pm, I offer it all day. I am here 9am-5pm Monday-Friday, and this PCC is closed daily 1-2pm for my lunch break. Passing this course earns a certificate backed by SUNY Potsdam and access to 5,000+ higher-level professional and IT courses, still free. U.S. Virgin Islands Residents only. – deadline has been extended to Feb 28.

 Digital Learning Day – This is a national initiative which viNGN decided to support and on that date we will encourage everyone to visit our blog to obtain a list of great digital learning resources both local and worldwide.  At the same time we take the opportunity to encourage our patrons to take and pass the Basic Digital Literacy course – deadline has been extended to Feb 28.  

Hour of Code - Learn how to think like a programmer! Over 15 million in 170 countries did the 2013 “Hour of Code” during Computer Science Education Week (Dec. 9-13 2013). Together, we made history and broke records.  The Hour of Code has become the fastest-spreading technology in history. The top question at Code.org: "Will you keep the tutorials available?" The answer is a resounding "Yes, and they will remain free."  Visit www.code.org to learn computer programming with the Hour of Code. Anyone can learn! Those who visit this PCC can take it under my supervision and I can create a certificate for the tutorial here – it will be sent to them via email, so if they don’t have a working email address, I can use mine, and forward as they desire.

Digital Learning Day 2014



01/21/2014

Human Services Medical Assistance Public Notice

The Department of Human Services Medical Assistance Program hereby provides notice of its intent to amend the Medicaid State Plan to add coverage for uninsured individuals with a diagnosis of Breast or Cervical Cancer when that diagnosis is confirmed by a testing site funded by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). In order to qualify for Medicaid as member of this new coverage group, the applicant must:

  • Be a United States citizen
  • Be a resident of the United States Virgin Islands
  • Be diagnosed with either Breast or Cervical Cancer at a CDC-funded site
  • Be uninsured
  • Be less than 65 years of age

                                                                                                                   

There is no income or asset test for this eligibility category.

At the present time, there is no CDC-funded test site in the United States Virgin Islands. However, cancer screening services are provided by the clinics operated by the Department of Health, the Federally Qualified Health Centers (Frederiksted Health Center and St. Thomas East End Medical Center). Under the proposed State Plan Amendment it is the intent of Human Services MAP to provide free transportation to San Juan, Puerto Rico where there is a CDC-funded site for all those individuals who meet the criteria listed above and who have previously received a positive result from a cancer screening site located in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Human Services is proposing an effective date of April 1, 2014 for this Amendment subject to approval by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). This notice is provided in order to comply with the requirements set forth at 42 CFR 447.205 and 1902(a)(13) of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. Section 1396a(a)(13).



10/25/2013

Human Services Prepares for Delay of SNAP Services in November due to Federal Shutdown

Clients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program may not see their benefits on November 1st if the federal shutdown persists. Benefits can be issued a few days later once federal appropriations are made. 

The US Food and Nutrition Service issued a directive to all states and territories to not process benefits for November unless the federal government reopens or special plans for SNAP are realized. The Department of Human Services serves approximately 28,000 people through SNAP at a cost of $4.93million annually.  The Department will continue to issue SNAP benefits through October and will proceed as directives are given from the US FNS.

If a resolution to the federal shutdown is realized soon, normal benefits may be issued in November. Although this circumstance is beyond the control of Human Services, sincere apologies are extended to clients for any inconvenience.


08/13/2012

Human Services 2013 Block Grant Application Available for Review

The Virgin Islands Department of Human Services hereby informs the Virgin Islands community of its intention to submit an application to the United States Department of Health & Human Services for a continuation Consolidated Block Grant as Authorized by the Omnibus Territories Act as amended 48 U.S.C. 1469 a. 

 

Copies of the Consolidated Block Grant and its intended use of funds for fiscal year 2013 under the Consolidated Grant Award will be available to the public for review beginning August 13, 2012 and comment through to August 27, 2012, at the Office of the Commissioner of the Department of Human Services Knud Hansen Complex, St. John Multi-Purpose Center, the Golden Rock site on St. Croix, and the through the V.I.  Department of Human Services’ website at http://www.dhs.gov.vi.


DHS Continues Advancing Toward Reorganization of Child Welfare Program.

DHS Continues Advancing Toward Reorganization of Child Welfare Program.

Today marked the end of a two day training session conducted by The Department of Human Services to embark on the next phase in improving the child welfare system. Representatives from the Children's Bureau National Child Welfare Resource Center for Organizational Improvement/Training and Technical Assistance Network (NRCOI) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services met with Department staff as well as stakeholders who work closely with all facets of child welfare services on St. Croix and St. Thomas.

Less than six months ago Department officials invited the NRC to assist in implementing strategies to perform best practices in working with children, youth and families who enter the child welfare system. Today, the training sessions narrowed the exhaustive list of options to revamp the child welfare system to five practical strategies-three of which were targeted first. Examined were the development of a child welfare practice model which offers consistency in services; establishing a child welfare information management system; developing a recruitment and retention plan for foster parents; establishing a child welfare training program for social workers; and creating Territory-wide subsidized guardianship program.

Participants developed groups to target three primary strategies including developing permanent and stable living situations for foster children, ensuring continuity of family relationships, and assisting parents with skills needed to maintain a healthy family environment. These groups will meet regularly and with NRC representatives for additional support.

NRC provides technical assistance in this effort as well as expanding knowledge, increasing competencies, and changing attitudes of child welfare professionals at all levels. Participating stakeholders included Lutheran Social Services, VI Behavioral Services, the Disabilities Rights Center, Beyond Visions, the St. Thomas Healthcare Adolescent Program, Family Resource Center, Department of Education, Division of Mental Health, Work Able, Inc., Nana Baby Home, the University of the Virgin Islands Social Science Division, private attorneys, and retired social workers.


6-23 and 6-24 DHS Hosts Public Hearing on Childcare State Plan

The Department of Human Services Office of Childcare and Regulatory Services, invites the public to a hearing to provide comment and ask questions about the 2009-2011 Child Care Biennial State Plan.

The first meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, June 23rd at the STRIVE Senior Center of the Human Services Knud Hansen Complex. The second meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, June 24th at the Human Services Golden Rock lobby. Both meetings will begin at 6pm.

Copies of the State Plan are on reserve, in both districts, at the public library, the University of the Virgin Islands Library, And the Office of Child Care and Regulatory Services. An additional copy is also available at the Human Services administrative office on St. John.


Human Services Joins Department of Education to Assist Children with Disabilities

St. Thomas— The Department of Human Services will partner with the Department of Education to provide free screenings in speech, hearing, and development for pre-school aged children.

‘Child Find’ enables parents who are concerned about their child’s development to be screened by certified therapists.This territory-wide search for children with disabilities takes place twice annually, and is sponsored by the Department of Education to service children in the Territory.

The Department of Human Services benefits from this effort to enroll children into the Head Start Program which provides services to children with disabilities from ages 3 through 5.

The screenings will take place on Friday, May 15th from 9am-1pm at the Curriculum Center in Tutu across from the 7th Day Adventist Church.

For more information contact 774-5370 Masikia Lewis or 774-4399 Daphne Dawson


Human Services and Local Banks Fight Against Financial Abuse of
Senior Citizens and Dependent Adults

St. Thomas-The Department of Human Services Adult Protective Services (APS) program held today the first of several intended seminars with financial institutions, in an effort to make a collaborative stance against senior and dependent adult abuse.

Human Services APS management and social work staff explained the rise of financial exploitation of senior citizens and dependent adults. Detailed presentations on fiduciary abuse empowered attendees to take needed steps to report any suspicion of fiscal mismanagement by caregivers and family of seniors or dependent adults.

Financial representatives were advised to be aware of activities by seniors or dependent adults including 1) transferring large accounts or property to other family members, 2) applying for a loan without concrete reason(s), 3) withdrawing significant amounts of money from an account or 4) adding a seemingly eager caregiver/family member as a consignee to their account.

May is Senior and Dependent Adult Abuse Prevention Month. On Tuesday, May 19th APS will host Senior Citizens Information Day where trained legal counsel on senior affairs will be available for consultations. The event will take place at the TuTu Park mall from 10:30 through 2pm. A conference to form a coalition with key government, private, and non-profit agencies against senior and dependent abuse is also scheduled for June.

The APS investigates reports of abuse, neglect and exploitation of senior citizens aged 60 and over as well as incapacitated/dependent adults over 18 years of age who may have a myriad of physical and mental impairments.


Travel Bags for VI Foster Children from Novo Nordisk

St. Thomas-The Department of Human Services will receive 200 travel duffle bags for the Territory’s foster children from Denmark based healthcare company Novo Nordisk.

On Wednesday, March 11th at 10:30am Novo Nordisk International Diabetes Care Specialist Margaret Walton, will officially donate the duffle bags to administrators of the DHS Children and Families Unit at the Knud Hansen complex. The bags will be filled with pajamas, toiletries, school supplies, cameras and photo albums.
The relationship between DHS and Novo Nordisk began when Walton visited the VI in 2008 to make a presentation on Diabetes at the Schneider Regional Medical Center. Walton was referred to the DHS Children and Family Unit after expressing an interest in reaching out to children.

Novo Nordisk manufactures and markets pharmaceutical products specializing in Diabetes care and other related diseases. Information can be found at www.novonordisk.com.


The Department of Labor announces the availability of the State Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP)

Labor Commissioner Albert Bryan Jr. and Human Services Commissioner Chris Finch, wishes to inform the general public of the availability of the State Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) Plan for public review and comments.

The plan is currently available in hard copy at the Department of Labor One Stop Offices located at 53A, 54A&B Kronprindsens Gade in St. Thomas and #2203 Church Street Christiansted in St. Croix; at the Department of Human Services Offices located at Knud Hansen Complex, Bldg. A in St. Thomas and #3011 Golden Rock, Christiansted in St. Croix; the University of the Virgin Islands campuses and all Public Libraries throughout the Territory.

>>DOWNLOAD PDF HERE >>

The Plan is also available electronically at www.vidol.gov