January 2020 Newsletter

2020 is just around the corner, which means a new MFWCAA membership season! MFWCAA membership runs from January 1st – December 31st each year. Please consider renewing your membership right away. Not only does early membership guide us in planning for regional trainings and conference numbers, but also gains your eligibility for the early bird prize drawing! You can find the 2020 membership form attached to this newsletter and on our website. With a new year comes a website refresh. You are greeted on our homepage with the words “Train, Network and Advocate,” which I believe describes the MFWCAA very well! We provide training and networking opportunities at our yearly MFWCAA conference and at regional meetings. We collaborate regularly with our MFIA liaisons and provide monthly updates from our board meetings, including updates from our DHS Health Care, Child Care Assistance Program and Instructional Design Training Team liaisons. We continue to advocate for improvement in policy and programs for both our clients and for Financial Workers and Case Aides throughout Minnesota.

The board said some hard goodbyes this year. Tara Vander Steen (Past President) served as President for TWO terms. We appreciate all of her hard work and dedication to the board! Demi Rumsey (Region 6) has taken a new position at her agency and we wish her well in her future endeavors. Cara Halvorson (Region 10) and April Hansen (Region 11B) have also resigned and were great assets to our team. Our board welcomes: Heather Magnusson (Region 1), Dana Wenisch (Region 6) and Tiffany Nelson (Region 10).

Thank you to all who completed the post-conference survey. We will be reviewing your surveys at our January meeting. We take your comments and suggestions very seriously as we continually work to improve your conference experience.

I am very thankful for the opportunity to serve as your President! I am surrounded by creative and hardworking board members, which makes the position even more enjoyable! I am always available for questions, comments and feedback. Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2020!

Larissa Rasmussen



Kimberli Malecha from MNPrairie is the winner of the 2019 Financial Worker/Case Aide of the Year Award. She was nominated twice by two different co-workers. One of the nominations reads in part: “Kimberli has been our Health Care team’s lead worker since June 2016. She has been proving her competency and love for her job from day one as an Eligibility Worker. Her zest for knowledge is admirable. She puts out 110% for our team and is always there for us; cheerfully resolving our METS and ONEsource questions, doubts, problems and complications. She never hesitates to take on a challenge. Her quest to be the best in her area is unending and undeniable. I have no doubt that a more dedicated, knowledgeable, enthusiastic Eligibility Worker is hard to come by.” Congratulations Kimberli!

If you know someone that you think is deserving of this award, nominate them! Attached to this newsletter is the 2020 Financial Worker/Case Aide of the Year Nomination Form. The nominations must be postmarked or submitted online by 07/31/20. Our mailing address is listed on the nomination form. Nominations can be submitted online at www.mfwcaa.org. Contact Dana Wenisch at dana.wenisch@kcmn.us with any questions.

Vendor Game Winners ($10 Cash): Becky Nelson – McLeod County, Shirleen Allen – DVHHS, Kimberly Hensch – Watonwan County, Karen Frandle –  MNPrairie, Mary Costello – Dakota County, Christine Donley – Douglas County, Jodi Schutz – MNPrairie, Melodie Riveness – Sherburne County, Kathryn Hagglund – Sherburne County, Jamie Wolfe – Blue Earth County
Lindsay Bolstad from Washington County is the winner of the Hilton Garden Inn hotel stay. We drew a random name from the list of 2019 conference attendees.



Region 1, Region 6 & Region 10 have new Region Representatives! Help us welcome them.

Hi, my name is Heather Magnusson and I am the new Region 1 Rep. I have been an Eligibility Worker in Roseau County since 2014. I started in the Case Bank world working with SNAP, Family Cash and Health Care. I transitioned to only working in METS in 2016. I have worked for Roseau County since 2006. I am excited to represent Region 1 and the amazing Eligibility Workers we have in the region. I am looking forward to getting to collaborate on trainings and processes with all of you!

Hello! My name is Dana Wenisch and I am your new Region 6 Rep. I started as an adult Eligibility Worker in Kandiyohi County in May of 2016. I have worked with Adult, METS, LTC and Housing Support. I am looking forward to having the opportunity to learn and relay the immense amount of information our positions in income maintenance require. I’m excited for this opportunity to work with you all!

Hi Everyone! My name is Tiffany Nelson and I am looking forward to being your new Region 10 Rep! I have been a financial worker for going on 11 years now – Wow how does time fly! I started out in Wabasha County and I loved every minute there! Developed a lot of great relationships and learned from some very talented people there! I have since moved onto Goodhue County where again I am blessed to be working with a great bunch of people! I have been here for 5 years now and am part of the Family Team: Cash, SNAP, HC and CCAP; we case bank. I am also the child care provider worker and I do foster care and IV-E as well; so I stay pretty busy. I look forward to learning new things and meeting new people and becoming a part of this team!

Get your membership dues paid early and you could win a prize! Your name will be entered in a drawing to win a $25 gift card if your membership dues are postmarked by 02/29/20! Please contact your Region Representative or anyone on the board for more information. Remember Scholarship Applications are due no later than 02/29/20.


• Attached is the 2020 Scholarship Application. You can also request one from your Region Representative.
• The Scholarship Applications must be postmarked by 02/29/20 or the application will be disqualified.
• The Scholarship Application can also be submitted online at www.mfwcaa.org. They must also be submitted by 02/29/20.
• The related member’s 2020 MFWCAA membership dues must also be paid by 02/29/20 or the application will be disqualified.
• Make sure to fill out the application completely and legibly. • Remember two letters of recommendation (one from a non-related adult and the second from a non-related teacher, instructor or employer). Your letters of recommendation must be on letterhead.
• Contact any board member with questions regarding our Scholarship Program.


The Scholarship Committee would like to thank all who donated a basket for the 2019 raffle. We had 26 baskets this past year (we had 35 in 2018) and with your help, we were able to raise $6,605 (we raised $4,059 in 2018) for the Scholarship fund!!! Thank you to everyone who put together and donated baskets as well as those of you who purchased raffle tickets. The amount of work and creativity we see every year never ceases to amaze us! It’s time to start thinking of basket ideas for 2020! The Scholarship Committee awarded prizes for the most ticket sales (1st and 2nd), creativity (3rd), and a random drawing: • First Place Prize went to Region 6 • Second Place Prize went to Region 4 • Most Creative went to Carver County • Random Drawing went to Region 9

Pictured above is the Adventure Awaits! basket by Region 6. It contained a collapsible utility wagon, Arctic cooler, 4 drink holder stakes, 2 travel Arctic coffee cups, 2 travel Arctic tumblers, 2 Coleman camp chairs, cable knit throw blanket and a bottle of wine. Congratulations to Region 6 for putting together the basket with the most ticket sales in 2019!
2018 – 2019 MFWCAA Board Members Front Row: Jessica Buckentin (Vice President), Larissa Rasmussen (President Elect/Region 8 Rep), Andrea Nachreiner (President), Jill Gunderson (Case Aide Rep), Mary Zurn (DHS Liaison), Tanis Waibel (Region 9 Rep) & Ge Her (DHS HC Liaison) Back Row: Angela Carlson (DHS CCAP Liaison), Tami Elich (Treasurer/Region 3 Rep), Benjamin Henry (Region 11 Rep), April Hansen (Region 11B Rep), Tedi Peterson (Region 7 Rep), Mandora Young (Region 11A Rep), Katie Nelson (Secretary/Region 5 Rep), Deb Mickelson (Region 4 Rep), Lori Savoie (Region 2 Rep), Cara Halvorson (Region 10 Rep) & Tara Vander Steen (Past President)

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