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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
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.
Minn. serial rapist testifies about violent history and fantasies

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.
Rapist who wants out of MSOP tests how Minn. treats sex offenders

Rapist who wants out of MSOP tests how Minn. treats sex offenders

A panel is hearing testimony this week on whether Thomas Duvall, 61, is still a danger.
Child abuse reports soar across Minn., straining system

Child abuse reports soar across Minn., straining system

They rose 25 percent last year for the second straight year of sharp increases. State officials are pushing reforms aimed at preventing child abuse.
Family wins right to sue senior home over death of Minnesota man

Family wins right to sue senior home over death of Minnesota man

Legal experts say the decision is among the first of its kind in Minnesota and could embolden others.
Budget cuts would deepen statewide shortage of psychiatric beds, Minnesota commissioner warns

Budget cuts would deepen statewide shortage of psychiatric beds, Minnesota commissioner warns

Emily Piper said proposed $600 million cut would reverse a year of progress.
Services for thousands of Minnesotans with disabilities are at stake in vote on GOP health bill

Services for thousands of Minnesotans with disabilities are at stake in vote on GOP health bill

GOP 'repeal and replace' plan would slash Medicaid for thousands.
Marcus Bachmann's counseling center sanctioned for violating state rules

Marcus Bachmann's counseling center sanctioned for violating state rules

Clinic stirred up controversy during Michele Bachmann's last campaign.

Walker Methodist cited in patient's death after 3 nurses fail to perform CPR

Investigators say nurses didn't follow doctor's resuscitation order or try CPR.

Walker Methodist cited in patient's death after 3 nurses fail to perform CPR

The Minneapolis nursing home had no system to ensure that staff members followed a physician's signed order for lifesaving treatment, the Minnesota Department of Health said in an investigative report.
'Voice banks' help keep chronically ill from falling silent

'Voice banks' help keep chronically ill from falling silent

For thousands of Minnesotans with neurodegenerative diseases, losing one's ability to speak is one of the most devastating consequences.
Parents of children with disabilities protest high fees for Medicaid services

Parents of children with disabilities protest high fees for Medicaid services

Families lobby Legislature for reduced fees in the state TEFRA program.
Troubled St. Cloud center for children to close residential treatment

Troubled St. Cloud center for children to close residential treatment

The decision comes weeks after state regulators cited the facility for severe safety violations.
State plans online 'report card' for you to gauge assisted-living facilities

State plans online 'report card' for you to gauge assisted-living facilities

Industry is less regulated than nursing homes.
Report calls for stronger oversight of Medicaid spending for disabled, elderly

Report calls for stronger oversight of Medicaid spending for disabled, elderly

Minnesota spent roughly $2.4 billion in 2015 on home and community services.
Breaking through the epidemic of loneliness

Breaking through the epidemic of loneliness

With isolation a major health risk, agencies reach out to older Minnesotans.
Minn. health regulators can't keep up with abuse reports

Minn. health regulators can't keep up with abuse reports

Flooded hot line has families of vulnerable adults waiting months for investigations.
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.
Advocates for disabled send a distress signal to legislators

Advocates for disabled send a distress signal to legislators

Without pay reform for personal care aides, 'people will die,' they tell legislators.

St. Cloud Children's Home sanctioned for health, safety violations

State regulators have placed its license on conditional status.
Review: 'The New Odyssey,' by Patrick Kingsley

Review: 'The New Odyssey,' by Patrick Kingsley

NONFICTION: This powerful, important book by a journalist for the Guardian examines how a humanitarian crisis of refugees got recast as a security crisis.
Ex-official at Minn. treatment center who sexually assaulted patient had long criminal history

Ex-official at Minn. treatment center who sexually assaulted patient had long criminal history

The incident underscores serious gaps that still persist in Minnesota's system for screening thousands of caregivers and other staffers who care for vulnerable adults and children.

Sex offenders appeal federal ruling on constitutionality of state treatment program

They won in St. Paul, lost in St. Louis.

New savings account lends stability to disabled Minnesotans

Minnesota on Tuesday will announce the launch of new savings accounts that could lift hundreds of people with disabilities out of poverty by allowing them…
Victims of nursing home abuse challenge arbitration clauses

Victims of nursing home abuse challenge arbitration clauses

Arbitration clauses at many senior homes cause confusion, block lawsuits.

Drug treatment center in Fergus Falls violated state rules, falsified document

State says the substance abuse facility falsified a record, broke other rules.

Dayton seeks $8 million to rebuild child psychiatric hospital in Willmar

Site only one that serves children and teens with severe mental illnesses.

Itasca County counselor sexually abused 15-year-old runaway

Girl, 15, was missing 2 ½ months before being found hiding in a garage.
Group seeks new rules on use of 'granny cams' in Minnesota nursing homes

Group seeks new rules on use of 'granny cams' in Minnesota nursing homes

Task force strives to balance privacy rights against the desire to prevent elder abuse.
Food stamp use rises sharply among elderly Minnesotans

Food stamp use rises sharply among elderly Minnesotans

Numbers of those 65 and older getting food stamps have almost doubled.
Review: 'Selling Apartheid,' by Ron Nixon

Review: 'Selling Apartheid,' by Ron Nixon

NONFICTION: A New York Times correspondent unravels a massive propaganda machine.

Reports of abuse and neglect among vulnerable Minnesotans rise sharply

A new hotline makes reporting easier, but advocates fear the state is not keeping up with complaints.

Minnesota to pilot innovative 'one-stop shop' model of mental health care

Six community health clinics will test new "one-stop shop" model of care
Court affirms constitutionality of sex-offender program in Minn.

Court affirms constitutionality of sex-offender program in Minn.

A federal appeals court in St. Louis has reversed a lower-court ruling that Minnesota's sex-offender treatment program is unconstitutional — a major victory for the Minnesota Department of Human Services.

Elderly Plymouth man is second in 2 weeks to die after wandering from senior home

He is the second man in two weeks to die under such circumstances.
Agencies step up effort to reach lonely, isolated older Minnesotans

Agencies step up effort to reach lonely, isolated older Minnesotans

"People don't want to impose, and it's difficult to get beyond that," said Tetyana Shippee, a sociologist at the University of Minnesota who studies aging and social isolation.
State lifts licensing restrictions on St. Peter mental hospital

State lifts licensing restrictions on St. Peter mental hospital

Licensing restrictions lifted on St. Peter's psychiatric facility.

Minnesota foster kids to get much-needed therapy under new program

State hopes to cut high rate of children cycling in and out of placements.

Elderly man found dead after going missing from Oak Park Heights senior home

The man left his assisted living apartment at night in frigid weather.
Nonprofits seek to redo guardianship system for vulnerable adults

Nonprofits seek to redo guardianship system for vulnerable adults

With a $1 million federal grant, Volunteers of America of Minnesota and Wisconsin will lead a group of social service agencies in building a way to protect vulnerable adults while respecting their dignity and preserving their rights against overzealous guardians.
150 ER visits in a year? New MN program flags high-use patients

150 ER visits in a year? New MN program flags high-use patients

The program has quietly become a powerful tool to control waste in the multibillion-dollar Medical Assistance program while improving patient care -- and saving taxpayers at least $7 million a year in unnecessary medical costs.
At Standing Rock in N.D., a camp of defiance and prayer

At Standing Rock in N.D., a camp of defiance and prayer

The Lakota see the protest as a "last stand" for their way of life and the environment. Protesters are digging in for a long, cold winter, even as federal and local officials prepare to evict them.

Key Minnesota wait list for disability services gets cleared with help

Medicaid waiver backlog for social services is cut from 1,420 to zero.
Disability rights settlement could open door to regular jobs

Disability rights settlement could open door to regular jobs

In a case that could open doors for thousands of Minnesotans with disabilities, a large disability services provider has settled a state human rights charge and agreed to give its workers a shot at regular jobs.
Citing burnout, top medical director of Minnesota's state-operated hospitals resigns

Citing burnout, top medical director of Minnesota's state-operated hospitals resigns

Psychiatrist says he's been working 80-hour weeks at Anoka-Metro.

$59M in overtime at Minn. agency includes $294K for one worker

Overtime expenditures at the department have surged nearly 20 percent in the past three years and now far exceed those at other large state agencies, according to a report by the Office of the Legislative Auditor.
Disability rights directive could put a bull's-eye on Minnesota

Disability rights directive could put a bull's-eye on Minnesota

The sheltered workshops that Minnesota relies on likely violate the ADA.
Review: 'Another Day in the Death of America,' by Gary Younge

Review: 'Another Day in the Death of America,' by Gary Younge

NONFICTION: A sobering exploration of the lives of 10 young people killed by guns on the same day.
Suicide at state mental hospital in Anoka prompts an internal state review

Suicide at state mental hospital in Anoka prompts an internal state review

Anoka-Metro treatment center had already been under heightened federal scrutiny for the past year.
State mental health system resembles a bad 'traffic jam,' task force says

State mental health system resembles a bad 'traffic jam,' task force says

Task force calls for more reviews of Minnesota's private insurers.
Twin Cities father to undergo cutting-edge brain surgery at U

Twin Cities father to undergo cutting-edge brain surgery at U

A Twin Cities father will undergo a cutting-edge brain surgery at the U that has the potential to transform his life

Hundreds of Minn. rape victims seek hospital care each year, study finds

About four Minnesotans a day seek care for sexual assaults.

Backlash stops 3 convicted rapists from being moved to group home in Dayton

New setback in state efforts to modify the controversial MSOP.

Hennepin County Medical Center creates new space for psychiatric patients and families

Confronting mental illness, 'You need a road map.'
Surge of clients strains jobs program for disabled Minnesotans

Surge of clients strains jobs program for disabled Minnesotans

New clients, new rules push vocational rehab program to its limits, meaning more than 1,000 people are put on waiting lists.
St. Cloud center cited for neglect in 'persistent head banging'

St. Cloud center cited for neglect in 'persistent head banging'

Staff at the treatment center refused to intervene, though teens wound up with concussions and abrasions. It was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine.
Ex-Viking Stu Voigt sentenced to six months for fraud scheme

Ex-Viking Stu Voigt sentenced to six months for fraud scheme

Former Minnesota Vikings tight end Stu Voigt was sentenced Thursday in federal court to six months in prison and ordered to pay a $100,000 fine for his role in a multimillion-dollar fraud scheme.
Dayton rolls out new hiring plans for those with disabilities in Minn.

Dayton rolls out new hiring plans for those with disabilities in Minn.

Gov. Mark Dayton announced new hiring initiatives this morning designed to improve the low rate of employment of Minnesotans with disabilities in state government.
St. Peter state psychiatric hospital, once secretive, hosts an open house

St. Peter state psychiatric hospital, once secretive, hosts an open house

'We are a treatment environment, not a prison,' director says.
On Iron Range, employer makes bold gamble on inclusion for people with disabilities

On Iron Range, employer makes bold gamble on inclusion for people with disabilities

One Iron Range firm makes strides toward inclusivity for people with disabilities.
Human Services Department inspector general set to retire after rooting out fraud, recovering millions

Human Services Department inspector general set to retire after rooting out fraud, recovering millions

'What can be more fulfilling than assuring that children and vulnerable adults are safe?' says Jerry Kerber.

State revokes licenses of two St. Paul youth group homes

Cites assaults, abuse and repeat police calls.
Obituary: Gayle L. Swann, leader of railroad workers and 1979 candidate for Minneapolis mayor

Obituary: Gayle L. Swann, leader of railroad workers and 1979 candidate for Minneapolis mayor

Gayle L. Swann, a railroad worker and feminist crusader who sought office as a member of the Socialist Workers Party, died on Sept. 24 of…
Minn. home care workers demand action on staff shortages, wages

Minn. home care workers demand action on staff shortages, wages

Two years after a contentious battle to form a union, they are starting contract negotiations.
New rule restores Minnesotans' right to sue nursing homes, attorney general says

New rule restores Minnesotans' right to sue nursing homes, attorney general says

A federal rule bans mandatory arbitration clauses in contracts.
Minn. Security Hospital fined $20,000 for safety violations

Minn. Security Hospital fined $20,000 for safety violations

The Minnesota Security Hospital, the state’s largest psychiatric facility, has agreed to pay one of the biggest fines ever assessed against a state agency for…

Mental illness in Hennepin jail far higher than previous estimates, new study finds

Inmates with mental health problems are also more likely to commit subsequent offenses.
State clears way for first unconditional Sex Offender Program release

State clears way for first unconditional Sex Offender Program release

The 26-year-old has been confined solely for acts he did as young as age 10.
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