January 2021 Newsletter

Larissa Rasmussen,
Jackson County


A year ago, I typed my article for our January 2020 newsletter and discussed excitement for the new year. Little did I know what we were in for! We’ve all been forced to pivot, adapt and adjust in ways we never imagined. We’ve learned a lot this year and have gone through incredible change with everything in our lives. 

As we begin a new year, keep in mind that MFWCAA memberships run from January through December each year. Please consider renewing your membership right away to ensure you have access to our January and February teletraining! 

Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to join us for our teletraining opportunities in 2020! We are continuing to offer remote training in 2021. We have dates confirmed in January and February to bring you presentations by the Minnesota Fraud Investigator Association and Resiliency Skills training from People Incorporated. We will again be using Zoom and members will receive an emailed link to join before the presentation. The schedule is included in this Newsletter! 

But don’t let our remote training schedule fool you…we are feeling optimistic about bringing everyone back together for our October 2021 conference in person at Madden’s on Gull Lake – Brainerd! 

Unfortunately, our Board said goodbye this year to Jessica Buckentin, Vice President, and Tanis Waibel from Region 9 as she relocated to somewhere warm and beautiful! I am happy to say that both positions were filled and our new Region 9 Representative is Liz Mashuga from Sibley County! Welcome, Liz! 

I look forward to continue to serve as your President in 2021! I am always available for questions and comments, so don’t hesitate to contact me by phone or email

Stay well and have a Happy and Safe Holiday Season! 

Hope to “see” you in October!
Larissa Rasmusen


Sally Geray from Mahnomen County is the winner of the 2020 Financial Worker/Case Aide of the Year Award. She was nominated by her co-worker, Melanie LaGue. The nomination read in part: “She has been at Mahnomen County for 30 years and has seen it all. She is kind to a fault, she is always willing to help and is always willing to learn new things. Sally has excelled at learning new things, and is never too good to ask for help. She is our rock!” Congratulations Sally! 

Congratulations to all our 2020 FW/CA OF THE YEAR NOMINEES:

  • Autumn O’Brien – Hennepin County 
  • Buffy Moore – Hennepin County 
  • Christine Kampsen – Stearns County 
  • Dawn Johnson – Kandiyohi County 
  • Giovanni Parodi – Hennepin County 
  • Mandora Young – Hennepin County 
  • Patrick Hare – Washington County 
  • Stephanie Jefferson – Hennepin County 
  • Stephanie Swenson – Otter Tail County 

If you know someone that you think is deserving of this award? Fill out the form and nominate them for the 2021 Financial Worker/Case Aide of the Year Nomination Form. The nominations must be postmarked or submitted online by 07/31/21. 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. 

MFWCAA Virtual Training 2021

Friday, January 15, 2021

9:00am: Welfare Fraud 101
Presented by the Minnesota Fraud Investigators Association
Public assistance and its requirements have changed significantly since the start of the great recession of 2008-2009. Eligibility requirements in the SNAP and MA programs have been loosened up or eliminated completely over the past decade. The introduction of METS and online application without an interview has become an acceptable way to apply, and determine eligibility for public assistance. These changes now seem minor in comparison with what is happening with public assistance programs in the pandemic of 2020-2021. What have all these changes meant for the public assistance system and welfare fraud investigations? What are the warning signs of client fraud and how do you go about ensuring public assistance programs still have integrity? This presentation is a basic overview of welfare fraud from the perspective of small and midsized county investigators. This is meant to be an interactive presentation with audience participation leading the presenters to specific areas of interest. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

9am – 11am: Resiliency Skills 
Presented by the Training Institute

Resiliency refers to the ability of a person to recover from difficulties and tough times. In an uncertain time, it is important to understand how a state of general anxiety around threats like the Coronavirus can affect our psychological and physical wellbeing and test our resilience. Fears around things like the virus are natural reactions to abnormal events and can affect our mental health, both in the short and longer term. This training session explores some practical solutions and skills for improving and building one’s resiliency during challenging times, the biology of why they work, and some notes on how to teach them to clients. 

Learning Objectives:

  • Look at different types of stress 
  • Recognize how the stress response works in your body 
  • Explore the role of the vagus nerve in balancing the autonomic nervous system 
  • Identify personal strategies for intervention and prevention 
  • Develop group strategies for intervention and prevention
  • Teach skills to clients 

Wondering how can you sign up to attend our 2021 remote trainings?

If you are already a MFWCAA member, these trainings are included in that fee! If you haven’t paid your dues yet, there is still time! Fill out the membership form and mail your $20 payment today!


  • Scholarship Applications must be postmarked or submitted online at www.mfwcaa.org by 02/28/21 or the application will be disqualified.
  • The related member’s 2021 MFWCAA membership dues must also be paid by 02/28/21 or the application will be disqualified.
  • Make sure to fill out the application completely and legibly.
  • Remember to include two letters of recommendation (one from a non-related adult and the second from anon-related teacher, instructor or employer). Your letters of recommendation must be on letterhead.

Help us welcome a new board member Liz Mashuga from Region 9

Hello everyone! My name is Liz Mashuga and I am your new Region 9 Rep. I have been an Eligibility Worker with Sibley County since March 2016, prior I was a Case Aide with Sibley County for 1 ½ years. I began working with family cases then moved to adults without dependents. In March 2020, I left the METS world and began training in Long-Term Care and Waivered Services. In addition to working within the adult unit, I case work our placement/IV-E/AA cases along with our TEFRA cases.

In my spare time, I enjoy doing things with my husband and our 3 adult children. I also enjoy cooking, baking, sewing and crafting. I appreciate this opportunity to network with other counties and DHS staff and bring resources/knowledge back to Sibley County. 

Early Bird Prize!

Get your membership dues paid early, and you could win a prize! Your name will be entered into a drawing to win a $25 gift card when your membership dues are postmarked by 02/28/2021! 

You can find the 2021 Membership Form here. Please contact your Region Representative or anyone on the board for more information. 

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