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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
Minn. agencies pushing for faster access to drug treatment

Minn. agencies pushing for faster access to drug treatment

By July, many will get help in hours instead of weeks amid rising need with the nation's opioid epidemic.
Victims denounce a failing state system for responding to reports of elder abuse

Victims denounce a failing state system for responding to reports of elder abuse

Minnesota Senate committee chair says too many reports of abuse have "fallen through the cracks."
State reports sharp drop in backlog of senior home abuse complaints

State reports sharp drop in backlog of senior home abuse complaints

Health Dept. greatly accelerated review of outstanding maltreatment allegations.
New report to highlight broad failures in state response to elder abuse

New report to highlight broad failures in state response to elder abuse

Legislative probe uncovered widespread issues that require "immediate action."
After backlash, Minnesota senior facility rescinds huge rent hike

After backlash, Minnesota senior facility rescinds huge rent hike

"I think they thought we were old and frail and unable to speak up. But we were very determined to shake people up about this — and we did," said 85-year-old Janet Dahlquist.
Minn. senior community fights 'astronomical' rent increases

Minn. senior community fights 'astronomical' rent increases

Minnesota, like a handful of other states, does not license assisted-living facilities, which means that residents generally have no more rights and protections than renters in an ordinary apartment building.
New Minn. Health Dept. leader pledges to make fight vs. elder abuse a priority

New Minn. Health Dept. leader pledges to make fight vs. elder abuse a priority

Gov. Dayton has appointed former Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm to lead the Health Department, following highly publicized reports of breakdowns in senior home regulation.
Two young women with disabilities sexually assaulted at Sauk Rapids group home

Two young women with disabilities sexually assaulted at Sauk Rapids group home

A male caregiver who worked the overnight shift at a Sauk Rapids group home has been charged with sexually assaulting two female residents who were unable to report the assaults because of their disabilities.
Task force:'Dramatic' reforms needed to end abuse in senior homes

Task force:'Dramatic' reforms needed to end abuse in senior homes

Consumer work group was commissioned by Dayton in wake of Star Tribune probe.
Orono senior home cited in death of woman found 10 hours after fall

Orono senior home cited in death of woman found 10 hours after fall

The woman died a few weeks after being left on the floor for 10 hours.
State and county officials challenge plans to release serial rapist Duvall

State and county officials challenge plans to release serial rapist Duvall

State agency, prosecutors say Thomas Duvall is still fixated on violence.
3 Minnesota sex offenders fight city ordinance that essentially bans them

3 Minnesota sex offenders fight city ordinance that essentially bans them

Offenders have been cleared for release but the city of Dayton's ordinance is so restrictive that they have nowhere to go, lawsuit says.
Minnesota officials detail backlog of elder abuse cases

Minnesota officials detail backlog of elder abuse cases

Human Services Commissioner Emily Piper said a team of state officials is sorting through more than 2,300 reports of maltreatment in senior homes.
Opioid crisis putting strain on Minnesota's child protection setup

Opioid crisis putting strain on Minnesota's child protection setup

Parental drug abuse forces thousands into foster care.
Prospect of Minnesota serial rapist's release is met with fear and anger

Prospect of Minnesota serial rapist's release is met with fear and anger

Nearly 1,000 people have signed petition in less than 2 weeks.
Frances Fairbanks, who helped co-found AIM, dies at 88

Frances Fairbanks, who helped co-found AIM, dies at 88

Frances G. Fairbanks, who rescued the Minneapolis American Indian Center (MAIC) from financial straits in the 1980s and became an unrelenting advocate for Indian causes for nearly 40 years, died in October at a nursing home in south Minneapolis. She was 88.
Serial rapist cleared for release from sex offender program

Serial rapist cleared for release from sex offender program

Thomas Duvall, who was locked up for 30 years for violent rapes of teenage girls in the 1970s and 1980s, is now contrite, a panel of Minnesota judges ruled.
Trump policy shift endangers Minnesota's crackdown on elder abuse

Trump policy shift endangers Minnesota's crackdown on elder abuse

New directives call for rolling back federal penalties on nursing homes violating health and safety rules.
Savior emerges for Mpls. home serving Indian women struggling with addiction

Savior emerges for Mpls. home serving Indian women struggling with addiction

Indian women's group says center "can't go away."
'One-stop shopping' model gets mental health care to thousands

'One-stop shopping' model gets mental health care to thousands

If current trends continue, officials estimate more than 15,000 patients will be served by July, for one of the broadest expansions of the state's community mental health system in years.
With major gift, homeless shelter dares to 'dream big' about future

With major gift, homeless shelter dares to 'dream big' about future

For 35 years, the basement of Simpson United Methodist Church in the Whittier neighborhood of south Minneapolis has served as a much-needed sanctuary for people experiencing the trauma and stress of homelessness.
New acting Minn. health chief pledges tough action on elder abuse investigations

New acting Minn. health chief pledges tough action on elder abuse investigations

Days into new job, Dan Pollock pledges major reforms to Department of Health's policing of elder abuse.
Health commissioner resigns after mishandling of elder abuse

Health commissioner resigns after mishandling of elder abuse

Dr. Edward Ehlinger's resignation comes five weeks after the publication of a Star Tribune series on elder abuse.
State employees say elder-abuse reports tossed in trash due to backlog of cases

State employees say elder-abuse reports tossed in trash due to backlog of cases

Chronic chaos, dysfunction recounted at state office investigating elder abuse.
Minnesota home care workers will get training on detecting hearing loss among seniors

Minnesota home care workers will get training on detecting hearing loss among seniors

Hearing loss, often undetected, can lead to depression and cognitive decline, new research shows.
Top Minnesota regulator fired, triggering calls for better senior abuse scrutiny

Top Minnesota regulator fired, triggering calls for better senior abuse scrutiny

Whistleblower reprisal alleged at Health Dept.'s elder abuse division.
Girl sexually assaulted while on unsupervised leave from treatment facility

Girl sexually assaulted while on unsupervised leave from treatment facility

Treatment center failed to monitor her contact with an adult.
Mpls. home for American Indian women with addiction to close after 44 years

Mpls. home for American Indian women with addiction to close after 44 years

Highly valued in Minneapolis' American Indian community, but faced financial problems.
Minnesotans can now text "911" instead of calling to summon help

Minnesotans can now text "911" instead of calling to summon help

Designed for people with hearing and speaking disabilities — or when silence makes a difference.
Bemidji man helps fuel lacrosse revival with traditional sticks

Bemidji man helps fuel lacrosse revival with traditional sticks

"It's beautiful, isn't it?" says the woodworker, holding up a freshly carved stick. "I'm peeling back history with every draw of that knife."
Families of elder abuse victims speak out, wield new power at Capitol

Families of elder abuse victims speak out, wield new power at Capitol

In recent weeks this coalition, known as Elder Voice Family Advocates, has emerged from obscurity to play a central role in early efforts by the administration of Gov. Mark Dayton to reform Minnesota's troubled system for responding to violent crimes and other forms of abuse in senior homes.
Gov. Dayton calls for new elder-abuse work group

Gov. Dayton calls for new elder-abuse work group

He'll appoint AARP officials to lead reform efforts ahead of 2018 Legislature.
Klobuchar: More must be done to stop abuse in senior homes

Klobuchar: More must be done to stop abuse in senior homes

The federal agency that regulates nursing homes must take more aggressive steps to prevent and respond to violent crimes and other forms of abuse in senior care facilities, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar said Tuesday. In her letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, she cited a five-day, Star Tribune special report.
Male aide gets 1-year sentence in sexual assault of 78-year-old Minnesota woman

Male aide gets 1-year sentence in sexual assault of 78-year-old Minnesota woman

Advocates say the case highlights deeper problems with the often-secretive response to elder crimes.
Emily Program to narrow eating disorder treatments, drop roughly 250 patients

Emily Program to narrow eating disorder treatments, drop roughly 250 patients

The eating disorder clinic will focus on patients with severe and dangerous eating disorders.
Minnesota scientists deploy high-tech tools to map damage from fetal alcohol

Minnesota scientists deploy high-tech tools to map damage from fetal alcohol

Prenatal alcohol exposure affects about 7,000 newborns in Minnesota each year, and its effects remain deeply misunderstood.
Minn. senator demands greater disclosure on senior abuse, investigations

Minn. senator demands greater disclosure on senior abuse, investigations

Sen. Karin Housley says problems outlined in Star Tribune investigation are "untenable."
A more aggressive model for protecting seniors from abuse

A more aggressive model for protecting seniors from abuse

PART 5 OF 5: A dedicated team of prosecutors, investigators and victims' advocates in San Diego County has made elder abuse a priority in the region's crime-fighting strategy.
Special Report: Minnesota senior home residents risk eviction when they speak up

Special Report: Minnesota senior home residents risk eviction when they speak up

PART 4: Across Minnesota, families who take complaints to the state Department of Health encounter dead ends and delays. Yet when they take their complaints directly to the management of their care homes, many find themselves facing retaliation.
Gov. Dayton calls for task force to address senior care abuses

Gov. Dayton calls for task force to address senior care abuses

Gov. Mark Dayton said Wednesday he would create a task force to deal with abuses in senior homes revealed in a Star Tribune series this week. "The senior care failures are really appalling," he said.
Some homeless will be moved outside of Super Bowl perimeter

Some homeless will be moved outside of Super Bowl perimeter

A current shelter at First Covenant Church is inside the Super Bowl security perimeter.
Detective ferrets out financial crimes against older Minnesotans

Detective ferrets out financial crimes against older Minnesotans

David Rikhus' work has led to more than 30 convictions and hundreds of thousands of dollars in recoveries for elderly victims.
Meet the Minnesota lawyer taking on the senior-care industry

Meet the Minnesota lawyer taking on the senior-care industry

lymouth attorney Mark Kosieradzki has a long history of multimillion-dollar legal victories, earning a reputation as one of the nation's most feared elder abuse litigators.
When senior home residents are abusers, state rarely investigates

When senior home residents are abusers, state rarely investigates

PART 3: Altercations between residents have grown more frequent and more serious in recent years as senior care facilities have allowed more seniors with psychiatric problems to live alongside frail elderly residents.
PART 2: When seniors are victimized, families can wait years for answers

PART 2: When seniors are victimized, families can wait years for answers

PART 2: Long delays in Health Department investigations leave many families in limbo, making it impossible for them to move on with their lives and eroding their faith in the state's ability to protect the elderly.
Secrecy often stymies families seeking answers about elder abuse

Secrecy often stymies families seeking answers about elder abuse

In Minnesota, state law often bars families access to any details about incidents of abuse and neglect at senior care facilities.
A "daily horror show" at one Minnesota senior care home

A "daily horror show" at one Minnesota senior care home

The history of a northern Minnesota assisted-living facility highlights a deeper breakdown in the way the state regulates the rapidly growing assisted-living industry.
Senior home residents abused, ignored across state

Senior home residents abused, ignored across state

Each year, hundreds of Minnesotans are beaten, sexually assaulted or robbed in senior care homes. Their cases are seldom investigated, leaving families in the dark.
Minnesota agencies will get $16.6 million to fight opioid abuse

Minnesota agencies will get $16.6 million to fight opioid abuse

"Too many lives have been lost already," state commissioner says.
Brainerd hospital stops admitting patients with severe mental illnesses, citing state bottlenecks

Brainerd hospital stops admitting patients with severe mental illnesses, citing state bottlenecks

Patients under court commitment strain hospital's resources, officials said.
Minnesota senior home operator forfeits part of license amid complaints

Minnesota senior home operator forfeits part of license amid complaints

State took unusual step after investigation found repeated violations.

Death in northern Minnesota senior home linked to neglect

Report: Senior home did not keep catheter clean.
Obituary: Colleen Carol Timbers advocated for people with disabilities, in work and life

Obituary: Colleen Carol Timbers advocated for people with disabilities, in work and life

Colleen Carol Timbers, a feisty champion who empowered thousands of Minnesotans with disabilities to take charge of their lives, died in August at her sister’s…
U.S. Supreme Court won't hear Minnesota sex offender program case

U.S. Supreme Court won't hear Minnesota sex offender program case

Lawsuit had challenged constitutionality of sex offender confinement.
REVIEW: 'The Hamlet Fire: A Tragic Story of Cheap Food, Cheap Government, and Cheap Lives,' by Bryant Simon

REVIEW: 'The Hamlet Fire: A Tragic Story of Cheap Food, Cheap Government, and Cheap Lives,' by Bryant Simon

NONFICTION: A deep analysis of the root causes of a fire at a North Carolina chicken processing plant that killed 25 workers.
Minnesota caregiver pleads guilty to sexually assaulting woman with Alzheimer's

Minnesota caregiver pleads guilty to sexually assaulting woman with Alzheimer's

Facility still faces allegations that it hid incident from family members.
Patient at troubled Minn. treatment center sexually abused by staff member

Patient at troubled Minn. treatment center sexually abused by staff member

Investigation finds new instances of abuse at East Grand Forks facility that already lost executive director over similar case
Minnesota mental health crisis line gets rescued at the last minute

Minnesota mental health crisis line gets rescued at the last minute

The state Health Department has agreed to provide money to keep Crisis Connection open until late September.
Carleton anthropologist Russell L. Langworthy, 92, wasn't afraid to get dirt under his fingernails

Carleton anthropologist Russell L. Langworthy, 92, wasn't afraid to get dirt under his fingernails

Friends and relatives remember Langworthy as an eccentric polymath who became so immersed in the rural societies he studied.
Minnesota mental health crisis hot line closing Friday

Minnesota mental health crisis hot line closing Friday

Crisis Connection service helped 20,000 callers a year, but suffered chronic financial losses.
Surging number of jail inmates posing threat to Anoka mental hospital

Surging number of jail inmates posing threat to Anoka mental hospital

The share of Anoka-Metro's population coming from jails has nearly tripled since 2013, according to state data released last week.
Two caregivers at Lino Lakes senior home charged with abusing 70-year-old resident

Two caregivers at Lino Lakes senior home charged with abusing 70-year-old resident

Another worker, who is not identified, recorded portions of the abuse and shared the recordings with Lino Lakes police.
Nightmare finally ends for St. Cloud teacher cured of rare sleep disorder

Nightmare finally ends for St. Cloud teacher cured of rare sleep disorder

Michelle Heizelman was diagnosed with a rare and sometimes debilitating condition known as "nightmare disorder," defined by frequent, extremely vivid dreams that usually involve threats to one's survival. Then, after 40 years, came a miracle.
New approach to detecting and treating early psychosis gains a foothold in Minnesota

New approach to detecting and treating early psychosis gains a foothold in Minnesota

Goal is to help young patients rally more quickly after traumatic "breaks."
Federal suit says Minn. foster care system failing hundreds of children

Federal suit says Minn. foster care system failing hundreds of children

In a civil rights action, attorneys for a national child advocacy group allege that the state and Hennepin County have failed to meet their legal obligations to provide secure homes.
Twin Cities mental health agency to pay $4.5M in federal fraud case

Twin Cities mental health agency to pay $4.5M in federal fraud case

Mental health services company is accused of overbilling for client care.
HCMC seeks to ease patient bottlenecks with new mental health crisis center

HCMC seeks to ease patient bottlenecks with new mental health crisis center

Crisis center will be a place for patients to gain strength before re-entering society.
Minnesota surveillance camera ruling a victory for nursing home residents

Minnesota surveillance camera ruling a victory for nursing home residents

Resident of a Bemidji nursing home wanted to document poor care.
Minn. sex offenders petition U.S. Supreme Court

Minn. sex offenders petition U.S. Supreme Court

Lawsuit claims Minnesota's sex offender program violates the Constitution.
Feds seize $2 million from mental health agency accused of bilking Medicaid

Feds seize $2 million from mental health agency accused of bilking Medicaid

Rare forfeiture move follows evidence of a suspicious wire transfer.
Minn. ruling on abuse at group home likely to be far-reaching one

Minn. ruling on abuse at group home likely to be far-reaching one

The decision, in the case of a man burned over 35 percent of his body, will likely prevent facilities from insulating themselves from often-costly lawsuits.
Obituary: Marietta E. Spencer worked to change adoption in U.S.

Obituary: Marietta E. Spencer worked to change adoption in U.S.

Marietta E. Spencer, a former executive at Children’s Home Society of Minnesota, was a pioneering social worker whose research and work with families helped to…
Psychologist: Serial rapist obsessed with deviant thoughts, not ready to leave program

Psychologist: Serial rapist obsessed with deviant thoughts, not ready to leave program

Expert witness appears on fourth day of Thomas Duvall's discharge hearing.
April 21, 2017: Minn. serial rapist testifies about violent history and fantasies

April 21, 2017: Minn. serial rapist testifies about violent history and fantasies

In tearful testimony, Thomas Duvall describes his violent past and pleaded to be released.
As serial rapist seeks release from custody, experts disagree whether he's ready

As serial rapist seeks release from custody, experts disagree whether he's ready

Some say Thomas Duvall did "benefit from treatment"; state is expected to disagree.
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