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Chris Serres

Reporter | Social Services
phone: 612-673-4308
Chris Serres covers social services for the Star Tribune. He writes about issues affecting society's most vulnerable populations, including the poor, elderly, mentally ill and people with cognitive and physical disabilities. He is married and has two children, Dominic, 12, and Emmanuelle, 10. He has been a newspaper reporter for 20 years.
Recent content from Chris Serres
Sex offender is sent back to jail because he can't afford treatment

Sex offender is sent back to jail because he can't afford treatment

Jonathan Earl Brown, by most accounts, was trying to get his life back on track when he was released from a Ramsey County workhouse early…
How investigators are using data to battle Minn. surge in suicides

How investigators are using data to battle Minn. surge in suicides

Effort follows sharp increase in Minnesota deaths.

Anoka Treatment Center reaches deal to keep federal funding, improve care

Federal regulators had threatened cuts due to lapses in care.
Minnesota advocates, lawmakers spar over use of hidden cameras in nursing homes

Minnesota advocates, lawmakers spar over use of hidden cameras in nursing homes

Proposal says families can install surveillance without fear of reprisal.

State opposes release of serial rapist who triggered a political furor

Thomas Duvall was nearly freed in 2014 amid a political furor.
Surge in psych patients turns state's ERs into 'holding pens'

Surge in psych patients turns state's ERs into 'holding pens'

The crowding has become so acute in some smaller, rural hospitals that patients are forced to wait on stretchers in public hallways, often for hours.

Ex-patient with gas can, lighter triggers lockdown at Anoka psychiatric hospital

Police took him to a local hospital; no one was injured.
Appeals court hears challenge to constitutionality of Minnesota Sex Offender Program

Appeals court hears challenge to constitutionality of Minnesota Sex Offender Program

Minnesota alleges bias by U.S. district court judge, seeks reversal of his ruling.

Duluth detox center cited for abuse after patient confined naked in room

Female patient was left naked, visible on cameras, investigators found.

Minneapolis daycare charged with overbilling state $103,500

Investigators found hundreds of instances when children didn't show up

Morphine error leads to patient's death; northwest Minnesota nursing home faulted

Nurses gave the resident, who had a severe cognitive disability, 10 times his prescribed dose.
Dayton seeks $177M investment in state psychiatric facilities

Dayton seeks $177M investment in state psychiatric facilities

Gov. Dayton seeks to target 'decades of neglect' at state-run psychiatric facilities.
Part 1: How Minnesota is failing the disabled

Part 1: How Minnesota is failing the disabled

FIRST OF FIVE PARTS: The state is segregating thousands of disabled adults in isolating jobs and homes. Many feel trapped, unable to lead independent lives.
Ex-Rochester basketball star found dead at treatment center

Ex-Rochester basketball star found dead at treatment center

Ater Manyang hanged himself Friday at a state addiction-treatment center, the fourth suicide at a state treatment facility since early 2015.

New Hope nursing home cited for brutal assault caught on video

Some St. Therese of New Hope employees were fired, two charged criminally.
Commissioner to unveil strategy for improving care at Minnesota's Anoka-Metro mental hospital

Commissioner to unveil strategy for improving care at Minnesota's Anoka-Metro mental hospital

Anoka-Metro center has a long history of bottlenecks and safety problems.

State challenges proposed release of rapist from MSOP

State, county officials argue Christopher Coker is too dangerous to free.
'Granny cams' gain popularity for catching elder abuse

'Granny cams' gain popularity for catching elder abuse

Two years after catching an aide ridiculing their mother, two sisters have become zealous proponents of using miniature cameras to catch abuse in senior homes.

Dangerous use of restraints plummets at Minn. homes for people with disabilities

Minnesota has turned the corner in a prolonged battle against the use of dangerous restraints and isolation rooms at facilities for people with developmental disabilities.
Legislative auditor urges overhaul of mental health services for jail inmates

Legislative auditor urges overhaul of mental health services for jail inmates

Some people are being jailed illegally, report found.
Shortage of caregivers hits home as families scramble to find help

Shortage of caregivers hits home as families scramble to find help

For one mother, a hospital bed was the only choice.
Review: 'Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City,' by Matthew Desmond

Review: 'Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City,' by Matthew Desmond

NONFICTION: Author follows eight Milwaukee families that lost homes and argues that the lack of affordable housing helps create poverty.

Hidden camera catches beating of elderly patient at Hopkins senior home

Secret video leads to abuse charges against an aide at a Hopkins nursing home.
Man who sexually molested young girls is heading to Mpls. apartment building

Man who sexually molested young girls is heading to Mpls. apartment building

At least 8 victims ranged in age from 2 to 12.
As MSOP door opens, a sex offender ponders freedom, future

As MSOP door opens, a sex offender ponders freedom, future

Richard A. Williams, 61, has a 21-page plan for staying straight. "I just want the opportunity to show the world that I'm a new man."

Head of Twin Cities mental health agency ordered to cease serving clients

The president of CSS was ordered to cease practicing until an inquiry is finished.
Release of convicted rapist draws a crowd to St. Paul meeting

Release of convicted rapist draws a crowd to St. Paul meeting

Oliver Dority, who has done time for two sexual assaults, is slated to move soon to a halfway house in the Summit-University district.
Rapist heading to St. Paul is latest sex offender to leave MSOP

Rapist heading to St. Paul is latest sex offender to leave MSOP

He's among six offenders freed in the past year, unprecedented for a program that has confined offenders indefinitely.
Obituary: Gloria Steinbring, a pioneering leader in Minnesota's disability rights movement

Obituary: Gloria Steinbring, a pioneering leader in Minnesota's disability rights movement

Gloria Steinbring, a charismatic and fiery leader of Minnesota's disability rights movement for four decades, died last month in Minneapolis. She was 71.
Fight for promotion prompts discrimination case, disability rights debate

Fight for promotion prompts discrimination case, disability rights debate

Worker with disability fights his limiting status as a 'client'
Minnesota may finally give people with disabilities a fresh start with jobs

Minnesota may finally give people with disabilities a fresh start with jobs

The voluntary initiative, known as "Way to Work," is based on a similar program in Ohio and has helped hundreds.
New chief of psychiatry at HCMC faces daunting challenges

New chief of psychiatry at HCMC faces daunting challenges

Dr. Eduardo Colon resolves to attack chronic overcrowding, fight stigma.

Rapist cleared for release from Minn. Sex Offender Program by appeals court

Judge overrides other officials who argued the man remains dangerous.
Anoka mental hospital violated basic rules for patient care, feds say

Anoka mental hospital violated basic rules for patient care, feds say

Generic treatment plans, other issues put mental hospital's federal funding at risk.
For hundreds of Minnesotans, the wait for disability services is over

For hundreds of Minnesotans, the wait for disability services is over

State reforms cleared the way for hundreds of families to get assistance
State psychiatric hospital in Anoka threatened with loss of federal funding

State psychiatric hospital in Anoka threatened with loss of federal funding

$3.5 million in federal funds at risk over safety problems at Anoka-Metro.
Obituary: Mary Schneider was social worker, dietitian and fierce advocate for the poor

Obituary: Mary Schneider was social worker, dietitian and fierce advocate for the poor

Mary E. Schneider, a pioneering social worker who traveled the Minnesota countryside in a 1935 Chevrolet, launching school lunch programs in small towns, died Dec.…
Mental health agency's fraud went on for years, workers say

Mental health agency's fraud went on for years, workers say

Current and former employees of Complementary Support Services describe practices that not only misled the government but put scores of patients in harm's way.

Minnesota terminates payments to large mental health agency accused of bilking Medicaid

State stops payments; employees worry clients will be stranded.
Minn. workshops for disabled could lose some subsidies

Minn. workshops for disabled could lose some subsidies

Sheltered workshops that employ thousands of Minnesotans with disabilities, often for just pennies an hour, would be forced to make drastic changes under a state…
'The moral responsibility of government' drives Minnesota's new human services commissioner

'The moral responsibility of government' drives Minnesota's new human services commissioner

Emily Johnson Piper took one of the toughest jobs in state government this week when she became commissioner of the Department of Human Services. She…
State mental hospital fined for not protecting workers from violence

State mental hospital fined for not protecting workers from violence

The Minnesota Security Hospital, the state's largest psychiatric hospital, has been fined $63,000 for multiple violations of failing to protect its workers from violence.
Dayton appoints top commissioner, U counsel to Minnesota Court of Appeals

Dayton appoints top commissioner, U counsel to Minnesota Court of Appeals

Agency chief Lucinda Jesson, U counsel Tracy Smith appointed to the high-profile bench.

Reforms to state sex offender program suspended by appeals court

The federal ruling gives state a temporary victory.
State explores heightened enforcement of mental health agencies, following alleged fraud by Richfield nonprofit

State explores heightened enforcement of mental health agencies, following alleged fraud by Richfield nonprofit

The nonprofit Complementary Support Services is accused of overbilling Medicaid for hundreds of patients.
State DHS commissioner recommended for slot on state appeals court bench

State DHS commissioner recommended for slot on state appeals court bench

She was in the spotlight during five tumultuous years leading the DHS.
Judge rejects Minnesota's bid to delay reforms in sex offender program

Judge rejects Minnesota's bid to delay reforms in sex offender program

He says Minnesota did not prove changes to sex offender program risked public safety.

Health insurance cut-off notices rattle disabled

State changed premium payment due date, but many enrollees missed the notice.
Gov. Dayton, legislators prepare far-reaching reforms to disability services

Gov. Dayton, legislators prepare far-reaching reforms to disability services

Gov. Mark Dayton, legislators say they intend to produce a broad package of reforms in the 2016 Legislature that would help Minnesotans with disabilities lead more independent and meaningful lives.
Part 2: Alone and at risk in Minnesota's group homes

Part 2: Alone and at risk in Minnesota's group homes

Set up to be safe havens, some group homes for the disabled have become remote "prisons," where residents are vulnerable to violence and neglect.
Aide gets 8 years for rape of 83-year-old patient at Minneapolis nursing home

Aide gets 8 years for rape of 83-year-old patient at Minneapolis nursing home

Sentence is longer than prosecutors sought in 83-year-old's assault.
For Minnesota's disabled adults, freedom to be intimate is rare

For Minnesota's disabled adults, freedom to be intimate is rare

Adults with disabilities must overcome constant barriers to pursue a fundamental human right – loving relationships.
Vermont took bold step to end segregation of disabled adults

Vermont took bold step to end segregation of disabled adults

Today many disabled Vermont residents are thriving in the community – and the state is saving money. (Part Four of our special report: A Matter of Dignity)
Part 3: Waiting list grows as aid for disabled goes unspent

Part 3: Waiting list grows as aid for disabled goes unspent

PART 3 OF 5: Thousands of disabled Minnesotans languish on waiting lists for crucial services even as millions of dollars remain unspent.
'Set up to fail' outside of group home

'Set up to fail' outside of group home

Without support, few adults with disabilities find success living on their own.
Two friends, two different fates

Two friends, two different fates

One is part of the community, the other stuck in a workshop
Citing 'dire problems,' state seizes control of Mpls. nursing home

Citing 'dire problems,' state seizes control of Mpls. nursing home

The state took the unusual step of taking over management of Camden Care Center, an 87-bed nursing home at 512 49th Avenue North in Minneapolis, after inspections in recent months found 80 health and safety violations.
Fed-up federal judge orders review of Minn. sex offenders

Fed-up federal judge orders review of Minn. sex offenders

A federal judge has ordered Minnesota's troubled sex offender program to promptly evaluate all offenders it has under custody, and to release those who no longer pose enough of a risk to the public.
Judge approves ambitious state plan to reform disability services

Judge approves ambitious state plan to reform disability services

Better jobs, medical care, housing are goals.

St. Olaf nursing home in north Minneapolis to close in November

The aging 80-bed facility couldn't compete with newer senior facilities in suburbs.

State pushes back on changes to sex offender program

A high-profile court hearing is set for next Wednesday.
Mpls. nursing home aide pleads guilty to rape of dementia patient

Mpls. nursing home aide pleads guilty to rape of dementia patient

In a rare settlement, the male aide has agreed to pay $15 million if he ever rapes again.

New boss for state mental health treatment program

Fairview veteran will lead DHS mental health, treatment amid concerns over rising violence.

Audit of state's health-insurance bidding process is likely

Several state senators suggested such an audit earlier this week, and on Wednesday Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson formally requested one, saying she believes it will uphold the way her department conducted the bidding and chose the winners.

Lawsuit claims state of Minnesota has underspent funds meant to serve the disabled

Services to thousands have been delayed, sometimes for years.
Officials vow to fight conditional release from Sex Offender Program

Officials vow to fight conditional release from Sex Offender Program

Over a chorus of objections from state authorities and medical experts, a man convicted of raping three teenage girls in the early 1990s was granted conditional release by a judicial panel last week.

Sex offenders demand broad reforms of Minnesota's troubled treatment program

State refuses to offer federal judge ideas for program remedies.
Judge demands swift action in reforming state sex offender program

Judge demands swift action in reforming state sex offender program

Giving the state until Sept. 21 to propose fixes, U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank warned he would impose a "more forceful solution" if the state failed to correct constitutional violations.
Rapist is 4th to be released from sex offender program

Rapist is 4th to be released from sex offender program

The release comes as the state weighs dramatic reforms to the sex offender program, which is under legal pressure to demonstrate that it provides offenders genuine treatment and the prospect of getting out.
Gov. Dayton proposes costly reforms to sex offender program

Gov. Dayton proposes costly reforms to sex offender program

The proposed changes could cost tens of millions of dollars but still may not satisfy a federal judge.
Star Tribune, other media to challenge closed-door meeting on sex offender program

Star Tribune, other media to challenge closed-door meeting on sex offender program

Dayton, attorney general's office support case that challenges judge's closure.
Judge bans media, public from meeting on sex offender program

Judge bans media, public from meeting on sex offender program

Ruling draws harsh criticism from lawmakers and open government advocates.

Restraints, seclusion used improperly at St. Peter, group says

Advocates say St. Peter state hospital continues to violate its own policies regarding punitive measures.
Former Minn. Supreme Court chief gets key role in sex offender case

Former Minn. Supreme Court chief gets key role in sex offender case

As special master, Eric Magnuson will coordinate efforts to correct "serious constitutional problems" identified by the federal court.

Sending disabled teen to mental hospital broke state rules

The Minnesota Department of Human Services breached a court order when a boy who later assaulted a staff member was moved to a St. Peter mental hospital.
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