Skip to main content

Boreal Community Media

COOK COUNTY CONNECTIONS: Supporting Children and Families in Cook County

Apr 15, 2022 10:35AM ● By Editor

Submitted photo

By Alison McIntyre, Cook County Public Health and Human Services Director, from Cook County MN • April 15, 2022


April is recognized as Child Abuse Prevention month in Cook County and nationwide. Throughout the month of April, Cook County Public Health and Human Services (PHHS) highlights the important work done within our department and throughout the community to support the social and emotional well-being of children and families and prevent child neglect and maltreatment.  These supports are provided along the continuum of the parenting journey from prenatal care until a youth prepares to graduate from high school.

Family home visiting is a free and universally available service for parents throughout Cook County. The Parent-Child Health Nurse at Sawtooth Mountain Clinic works to connect with families following news of a birth in Cook County, but you can request a visit any time during or after pregnancy. A family home visiting nurse will partner with you to develop goals and connect you with resources. Participation is voluntary, and there is no out-of-pocket cost. Families can choose to have a single visit or build a supportive relationship through a series of visits. Contact Sawtooth Mountain Clinic at 218-387-2330 or Grand Portage Health Services 218-475-2335 to connect with family home visiting services. 

WIC is a nutrition and breastfeeding support program that helps financially eligible families during pregnancy, following birth, and ages 0 to 5 learn about nutrition and staying healthy. WIC also provides education and support related to food and wellness, breast/chestfeeding, community connections, and grocery benefits for nutritious foods. For more information about the WIC program, call Sawtooth Mountain Clinic at 218-387-2330 or Grand Portage Health Services at 218-475-2235.

Growing Families is a confidential suport group open to all caregivers and families in pregnancy, postpartum, & with children under age three. Connect with other parents and caregivers who are also in this stage of life for support and encouragement. Discussion topics may include practical ideas for managing anxiety, sharing parenting tips, the challenges of COVID, as well as subjects related to pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. Find us on Facebook at Growing Families Cook County or by calling Cook County Public Health at 218-387-3605.

Child Care Licensing services provides resources and oversight for family child care providers. Child care is a vital component to maintaining safe and healthy families and communities.  Working parents rely on quality childcare to keep their children safe and well cared for while they participate in the Cook County workforce.  Family Services staff at Cook County PHHS assist those seeking to become licensed child care providers and work in coordination with the MN Department of Human Services to support a high level of care for children.  Those interested in learning more about becoming a licensed child care provider can contact Cook County Social Services Intake or email[email protected]

Economic Assistance programs like SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, MFIP, the Minnesota Family Investment Program, and CCAP, the Child Care Assistance Program, provide nutrition assistance, employment services and financial support to Cook County families. Cook County PHHS accepts applications and determines program eligibility. Employment Services are provided through the Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency (AEOA) and the MN Chippewa Tribe. Apply online at, email [email protected] or call 218-387-3620 for more information on how to apply.

The Parent Support Outreach Program is a voluntary, early intervention program for families experiencing risk factors that could lead to child maltreatment. Social work staff from Cook County meet with families to learn about out their goals and needs for a healthy family and to help the family achieve those goals. Families with a child under 10 can participate. For more information, call Cook County Social Services Intake at 218-387-3620 or email[email protected].

Children’s Mental Health services are voluntary support services provided by a Cook County social worker.  Many children experience fears and worries or display disruptive behaviors. Mental health disorders among children are described as serious changes in the way children learn, behave, or handle their emotions, which cause distress and problems getting through the day. When symptoms become serious and persistent and interfere with school, home, or play activities, the child may be diagnosed with a mental disorder. Cook County Children's Mental Health social workers first look to appropriate community-based resources to meet a family’s needs and provide information on community resources. For more information, call Cook County Social Services Intake at 218-387-3620 or email [email protected].

Child Foster Care provides care to children who are unable to remain safe in their home. Foster families provide critical temporary care and nurturing to children in crisis and help recognize the trauma children may have experienced. Foster care providers are asked to provide all duties of parenting including supervision, childcare, meals, medical care and work with social workers to make safety and family reunification plans. Whenever possible, children are placed with relatives, in their own community and continue to attend their home school. Both relative and non-relative foster care providers are required to complete the licensing process. For more information on becoming a foster care provider, contact Cook County PHHS at 218-387-3620 or email [email protected] for more information. 

Early Childhood Community HUB Navigator is a new initiative through Sawtooth Mountain Clinic to help families with young children connect to resources.  Families are invited to email [email protected] or call 218-387-2330, ext. 818 to learn more.

Cook County Public Health and Human Services recognizes the importance of working with community members, organizations, systems, and families to provide early intervention and support and promote the well-being of children and families. If you are interested in supporting the mission of Cook County PHHS, contact us about applying to serve on a citizen advisory council. If you would like more information on how to become a member, please visit our website, call 218-387-3620, or email [email protected].

Learn more about the PHHS department at the April 19 PHHS Board Meeting at 8:30 a.m. in the Cook County Commissioners Room. The meeting is available to stream live on the Cook County website at You can also visit our website at, contact us via email at [email protected] or find us on Facebook @CookCountyPHHS  or Instagram @cook_county_phhs to learn more about our work in supporting the health, safety and wellbeing of Cook County. For the latest information on COVID-19 in Cook County, visit the comprehensive COVID-19 response hub site at 

County Connections is a column on timely topics and service information from your Cook County government. Cook County – Supporting Community Through Quality Public Service

Todd Ford
Public Information Coordinator
Cook County Minnesota
411 W 2nd Street
Grand Marais, MN 55604
Cell: 218-264-9621

Boreal Ship Spotter - larger view here