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County, tribe partnering to boost social services

Devil's Lake, ND, June 5, 2009 -- A road is covered with water from Spirit Lake. The saltwater lake has been steadily rising for the last several years, threatening homes and businesses in the area. By Samir Valeja (This image is from the FEMA Photo Library.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Devil's Lake, ND, June 5, 2009 -- A road is covered with water from Spirit Lake. The saltwater lake has been steadily rising for the last several years, threatening homes and businesses in the area. By Samir Valeja (This image is from the FEMA Photo Library.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

FORT TOTTEN, N.D. (AP) -- Benson County is moving about 10 social services workers to office space on the Spirit Lake Reservation, where most clients for Medicare, Medicaid and food stamps live.

The plan grew out of meetings of county, tribe and other regional officials in response to child protection issues at Spirit Lake. The federal Bureau of Indian Affairs took over that system last October after heavy criticism that it was failing to protect vulnerable children on the reservation.

The county employees moving to reservation office space currently are scattered at sites in Maddock, Minnewaukan and the Crow Hill District of Spirit Lake. Most staff will now move into office space in Fort Totten.

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