On Tuesday the Winona County Board will consider privatizing its child care assistance program to a nonprofit agency in Rochester and will also examine several staff-driven initiatives meant to help county processes become more efficient.
It is not clear what outsourcing the child care resource and referral program will mean for county staff who currently implement the service, although County Board member Marcia Ward said she believed the change was an effort to allow current staff members the ability to become trained to assist in the new MNsure health insurance exchange program expected to be implemented in October. County Administrator Duane Hebert and Community Services Director Beth Wilms were unavailable for comment Friday.
According to the board agenda, "After thorough workload analysis of the Income Maintenance Unit it was critical to ensure prompt eligibility determination processing by exploring other avenues of work that could be streamlined within that unit. After careful review, it was determined that Child Care Assistance Programming services could be processed by an outside entity."
The county will pay Child Care Resource and Referral, of Rochester, up to $122,319.20 for the service between March 1, 2013 and December 31, 2013. Fifty percent of the cost is expected to come from federal reimbursement programs with the remainder to be paid with county funds.
The board will also hear an update on a program called "Lean" that county staff have used over the last several years to identify changes that could make operations more efficient.
Lean is a concept that has been used by many government and private entities for several decades. The program allows staff members to examine processes they use each day to find ways to save time and money. A Lean project could be as simple as moving a printer or computer station, or as complex as streamlining service processes that currently take dozens of steps and plenty of time.
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