Staff Directory 6370536

Chris Serres

Reporter | Social Services
Phone: 612-673-4308

Chris Serres is a staff writer for the Star Tribune who covers social services.

Serres 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
Barnett “Bud” Rosenfield with his older brother, Paul, who had Down syndrome and helped inspire his advocacy work.

Barnett 'Bud' Rosenfield, fierce voice for Minnesotans with disabilities, dies at 57

As an attorney, he won landmark legal advances for people with disabilities.
Christopher Parsons was a 22-year veteran of the St. Paul Fire Department who championed legislation that improved public health and safety.

St. Paul fire captain and union leader Chris Parsons dies at 48

His cause of death listed as cardiac arrest.

Wrong-way driver on I-94 dies in crash with FedEx truck

Another driver was rushed to the hospital after both vehicles burst into flames.

'It was now or never.' After brain injury, Minneapolis woman, 87, wins struggle for bus safety

The measure was among a bevy of items passed this spring that seek to improve the lives of those with disabilities.
People Incoporated will take over this 13-bed home at 3633 Chicago Ave. in Minneapolis for people needing crisis mental health services.

Steps from George Floyd Square, a mental health treatment center will open

The 13-bed treatment center will help people transition back to everyday life after a mental health crisis.
Pallbearers carried the coffin of Marcoz, a 14-year-old killed in a car accident following a high-speed chase with deputies.

Minn.'s juvenile justice system set to see sweeping changes

The legislation could shift power away from local prosecutors and courts by encouraging the use of restorative justice practices.
Thrive! Family Recovery Resources support group surround Deirdre Johnson only days after her daughter died of a fentanyl overdose, in Lakeville, Minn.

'Tough love' out, unconditional support in for Minnesotans struggling with addiction

Amid a torrent of drug overdoses, some families are turning away from a tough-love response.

Minnesota woman with disabilities returns home after legal saga

Cindy Hagen's case had galvanized disability rights advocates.

Tears, hugs and fresh air: Minnesota woman with disabilities returns home after legal saga

Minneapolis toddler's death triggers fresh concerns about child protection

The short and chaotic life of Derric Fulks Jr. exposes gaps in Minnesota's system for protecting children.
A male caregiver at Regent at Burnsville is accused of sexually assaulting a 75-year-old resident with dementia.

Sexual assault of senior with dementia caught on camera in Burnsville, underscoring power of video surveillance

Small cameras have grown in popularity as tools for families to detect abuse in senior homes.

Lifeline of medical gear flows from Minneapolis to Ukraine

Nearly $4 million in life-saving medical supplies have been shipped to Ukraine by local volunteers.
Cindy Hagen talks on the phone in her hospital room at the Mayo Clinic Hospital in Austin, Minn., on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023. Hagen has been confined

Minnesota woman wins legal victory in bid to free herself from guardianship

Cindy Hagen is confident she'll move home in May.

By the numbers: Medical supplies sent from Minnesota to Ukraine

Lifeline of medical gear flows from Minneapolis to Ukraine

The entrance to the Minnesota Sex Offender Program (MSOP) treatment facility in Moose Lake.

New lawsuit accuses Minnesota Sex Offender Program of violating patients' civil rights

State officials blamed lengthy delays in moving offenders to less-secure settings on staffing and space shortages.
Tram Nguyen carries her daughter Sadie Sava, 7, from her wheelchair to an adult changing table in a family bathroom at the Mall of America in Blooming

Parents of kids with disabilities push for accessible restrooms

A bill in the Legislature would mandate adult-size changing tables. Their efforts have reignited a broader discussion about equal access for people with disabilities: "This is about human dignity," Sarah St. Louis. from Shorewood, who has an 11-year-old son with physical and cognitive disabilities.
At the start of his Pizza Hut shift in Hopkins, Josh Brady, 28, right, prepares to count out and bag boneless chicken wings as his brother Dan, who is

Minnesota pushes to abolish subminimum wages for disabled

More than 4,000 Minnesotans with disabilities earn less than the minimum wage — often in mundane jobs with little hope for advancement.
Bywood East Health Care in Minneapolis is one of three boarding care homes that will have greater state scrutiny.

Minnesota Health Department tightens scrutiny of troubled Minneapolis care homes

The state withdrew its request for a receivership, a move the homes' owner called a vindication.

Surge in mental crisis calls after switch to 988 strains call centers

Mental health advocates are calling for more stable funding through a new telecom fee.

Where to find help if you or someone you know is suicidal

Bywood East Health Care on Central Avenue.

Whistleblower accuses Mpls. care home of putting residents in harm's way

The former administrator alleges she was fired for speaking out about unsafe conditions at the home, but the company's owner denies it.
The Whittier Place assisted-living facility in south Minneapolis.

Minneapolis care home staffer reportedly sexually assaulted a resident with disabilities

The facility waited about 40 hours to report the assault, a report finds.
Dennis Prothero, 68, who is paralyzed from the neck down from an auto accident 18 years ago, gets ready for the day in his apartment with the help of

Dennis Prothero, a firefighter, veteran and quadriplegic who sought better home care, dies at 68

His plight inspired hearings and proposals at the Legislature.
Bywood East Health Care on Central Avenue is one of three Minneapolis facilities whose operator has come under state scrutiny.

Troubled provider of care to Minnesotans with mental illness falls into financial disarray

Some care staff are calling on state regulators to take control of the facilities to avoid displacement of residents.
Outreach workers Leah Skjefte, left, and Dava Beaulieu, headed back to their van after distributing hand warmers and snacks to some residents of an en

Major study highlights deadly toll of being homeless in Minnesota

Alarmingly, researchers found that 20-year-olds experiencing homelessness in Minnesota have the same likelihood of dying as 50-year-olds in the general population.
Kristine Sundberg, executive director of Elder Voice Family Advocates, said the state health reports reveal "problems that are becoming glaringly visi

North-central Minnesota senior home blamed in resident's death

An assisted-living facility in Baxter is cited for neglect for failing to monitor a resident's foot infection.
Cindy Hagen has lived in a hospital room at Mayo Clinic hospital in Austin for more than six months.

Inside a Minnesota woman's fight to overturn a guardianship

Disability advocates say Cindy Hagen's case demonstrates that change is needed to protect rights of disabled people.
Maddie Brennan, right, shown in June with her mother, was a resident of a Bridges MN group home who left because of the uncertainty about the organiza

Troubled Minnesota disability services provider accused of $4M Medicaid fraud

State investigators claim to have found more than $4 million in fraudulent billings.
The state health department has started handing out fentanyl test strips that people can use to test their drugs — heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine

Where to get fentanyl test strips in Minnesota

Gabe Lyrek, a Harm Reduction Specialist at the NorthPoint Health and Wellness Harm Reduction Center, demonstrates how to use fentanly testing strips b

As fatal overdoses surge, demand for fentanyl test strips grows in Minnesota

More than 100,000 of the lifesaving strips have been distributed since they became legalized.
Joy Rindels-Hayden, 87, is waging a prolonged campaign to pass a state law to improve bus safety during the dangerous winter months after she suffered

After injury, Mpls. woman takes fight for bus safety to Capitol

For a retired 86-year-old teacher with a brain injury from a fall at a bus stop, every step is a struggle.
Crisis practitioners Candice Brumm and Andrew Baur consult with each other over a client assessment at Canvas Health in Coon Rapids, on Thursday, Jan.

State contract delays thrust mobile mental health crisis services into uncertainty

Crisis responders say the contract delays have already disrupted the life-saving service.

Citing failures, Minnesota DFL lawmakers push juvenile justice system reforms

The proposals would be the most significant changes in more than a generation
Sharletta Evans, sitting next to a photo of her son who was killed in a drive-by shooting 27 years ago, speaks with juvenile offenders at a Denver chu

Minnesota's juvenile justice system is broken. Colorado shows how it could be better.

In Minnesota, as in much of the country, alternative approaches to handling youth crimes have been slow to gain public support. But Colorado has overcome these obstacles through a series of hard-won legislative victories and a commitment to measuring outcomes.
Outreach workers Leah Skjefte, left, and Dava Beaulieu, headed back to their van after distributing hand warmers and snacks to some residents of an en

'Life-threatening' cold has shelters and outreach workers scrambling to get homeless inside

Emergency measures are being rolled out across the state, as county agencies and nonprofits try to prevent people from getting seriously ill or dying in the cold. Shelters were squeezing in cots and mats and extending hours so that people could stay through the day.

'Life-threatening' cold has shelters and outreach workers scrambling to get homeless inside

Emergency measures are being rolled out across the state, as county agencies and nonprofits try to prevent people from getting seriously ill or dying in the cold. Shelters were squeezing in cots and mats and extending hours so that people could stay through the day.
Makeysa Morgan talks to her son Mau’rese, 3, on the phone. Her parents are caring for Mau’rese while she serves a four-year prison sentence after

How extended probation for young Minnesotans can become a 'backdoor to prison'

Extended youth probation was once heralded as an innovative alternative to prison for adolescents who commit violent crimes. Instead, an alarming number end up incarcerated for minor probation offenses.
Kristine Sundberg, executive director of Elder Voice Advocates, called for heightened oversight of senior care facilities at a legislative hearing in

Searching for a senior home? A new tool helps Minnesotans screen out unsafe providers

The website is a collaboration of elder advocates and the state Department of Health.
Anthony Jackson, 18, spent some time in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden on Oct. 31, 2022. He is among hundreds of Minnesota foster youth who have bee

Minn. counties take millions in benefits meant for children in foster care

Foster youth and their advocates are pushing to ban the practice — which they say is tantamount to theft.
Jody Brennan and her daughter Maddie, who has Down syndrome and lives at a Bridges MN group home, on a walk at Memorial Park in Shakopee, Minn. ] CARL

Troubled Minnesota provider of disability services agrees to be acquired

Hundreds of people with disabilities have been in limbo since Bridges MN had its license revoked in June.
Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Commissioner Jan Malcolm

State regulators move to take control of three troubled care homes in Minneapolis

Thousands of dollars were transferred out of resident accounts, state health officials allege.
Shannon Smith, executive director of the Minneapolis-based ICWA Law Center, wrote a legal brief in support of the Indian Child Welfare Act. The closel

Minnesota tribal members ponder future of Native child welfare ahead of Supreme Court challenge

The case challenges a law meant to protect American Indian children from being removed from their families.

Sunday's red-flag warning for wildfires was rare for November in Minnesota

A storm system will move in this week that should bring some relief to drought-stricken parts of the state.
Personal care assistant Julie Britton helped Dennis Prothero, 68, an amputee, get ready for the day Wednesday.

Stranded without care, Minn. man loses limbs because of severe staffing shortage

Thousands of home caregiving jobs are going unfilled, jeopardizing the health of people with disabilities.
Deddtrease Edwards was 14 when she was sent out of state to a center for troubled youth because of a lack of beds in Minnesota. “My childhood was ro

Minnesota youth most in need of juvenile system help have nowhere to go

As youth detention centers close, Minnesota runs out of places to rehabilitate kids who commit serious crimes.
Raven Moe, 26, who has spina bifada, a spinal condition that has left her paralyzed from the waist down and in a wheelchair, fills out a ballot at the

Minnesotans with disabilities flex political muscle ahead of midterm elections

One of the state's largest voting blocs is seeking to build momentum through a new wave of organizing.
Michael Goze, left, and David Goodman peek around the outside of a tiny home trailer that was donated to their nonprofit which is sitting outside the

Spurred by friend's death, man builds tiny house for homeless Native Americans

A grieving mother described the 146-square-foot home as "an act of love."
Sadie, a rescue cat, snuggles up to Marjorie Wood, 81, who lives with her son Alex Talon, who also is his mother’s caregiver.

Minnesota seniors strike back against soaring rents

A sharp increase in rent has galvanized tenants struggling to get by on fixed incomes
State Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead said the new internal audit is a sign her agency is responding to complaints.

Lawmakers grill DHS chief about shoddy financial controls

Several Republican legislators repeated their call to split up the massive agency.
Program supervisor Fawn Beckman helped Tommy Toung look for jobs in classic car shops at MSS, a large disability service provider, on Friday, Sept. 16

Minn. expands push to phase out subminimum wages for people with disabilities

The state on Friday announced $10.5 million in grants for employment service providers.
Panda Olson with father Ronald Lund. He fell from a third-story window at the nursing home where he was living — the Estates of St. Louis Park. He i

Troubled nursing home ordered to pay millions in neglect cases

The Estates at St. Louis Park has been cited nearly 50 times in recent years for violating federal health standards
Panda Olson of Ham Lake visits her 86-year-old father, Ronald Lund at the White Pine Advanced Memory Care on Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2022. Panda was horri

Choosing a safe nursing home: Where to get information

There are several ways to learn more about such sites in Minnesota.
Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead

Minnesota DHS chief addresses revelations of shoddy oversight of housing grants

She testifies a week after the Office of the Legislative Auditor released a critique of the agency.
Legislative Auditor Judy Randall testifying at the Legislature in April.

DHS oversight of housing grants flawed, legislative auditor finds

The Minnesota Department of Human Services failed to provide adequate oversight while awarding tens of millions of dollars of grants to support the homeless and others in need of housing assistance, according to a report.
Robert Krause, held a photo of his mother, Jean Krause in 2017.

Minnesota guardian cleared of liability in sexual assault case

Guardians have broad immunity from claims of negligence, an appellate panel ruled.
Maija Hitt took her medication for the day while her partner and caretaker, Umar Williams, made her breakfast last week at their home in St. Paul.

Disabled Minnesotans face growing waits for home care

Hundreds of Minnesotans with physical and mental disabilities are experiencing prolonged waits for crucial social services because county governments are failing to keep pace with a surge in demand amid a workforce shortage.
Debra, left, and her cousin Arriell. Each girl experienced starkly different versions of Minnesota’s juvenile justice system.

Two cousins with diverging fates show promise, failure of youth rehabilitation in Minn.

Each day, Minnesota judges and prosecutors make life-altering decisions about children who break the law. Most kids end up entangled in the county court system, but some youth are offered an alternative, known as diversion. A child's future can hinge on the path that is chosen.
LaVonne Borsheim, 88, set up a game of dominoes for a weekly game she plays with fellow residents at her assisted living home on Wednesday, July 27, 2

Minnesota senior homes are besieged by staff stealing pain medications

More than 11,300 medications have been stolen from residents in the past eight years, study reveals
Marrie Bottelson, a plaintiff in the lawsuit, went for a walk with roommate and caregiver Ila Unga and Unga’s two sons. 

For disabled Minnesotans, a step closer to homes of their own

A lawsuit settlement could end the isolation of hundreds of Minnesotans in group homes.

Missing 10-year-old Minneapolis girl found safe, police say

Investigators are working to develop a chronology of what occurred, police said.

Death of Minneapolis toddler ruled a homicide

An autopsy found the boy suffered "multiple blunt force injuries."
Madison Meyer struggled against a rare and debilitating genetic disorder that severely weakened her immune system. Despite her disability, she partici

Farmington teen who fought rare genetic disorder dies at 17

Madison 'Madi' Meyer went hunting with her dad, attended prom and joined her school cheerleading squad, refusing to be limited by her condition.
Crisis therapists Michael Raguet and Lori Wegner at the Mental Health Crisis Program offices inside the Carver County Government Center in Chaska on T

Dial 988: New mental health crisis hotline launches Saturday

The new hotline is expected to send crisis call volumes soaring, prompting some to ask if Minnesota is ready.
The Mental Health Crisis Program offices inside the Carver County Government Center were photographed Tuesday in Chaska.

What you need to know about the new 988 crisis support hotline

The new, easy-to-remember number launches Saturday.
Jody Brennan and her daughter Maddie photographed Wednesday, June 29, 2022, at Memorial Park in Shakopee, Minn. ] CARLOS GONZALEZ • carlos.gonzalez@

Future of a major provider of disability services in Minnesota remains in doubt

Hundreds of Bridges MN clients are in limbo while provider appeals state enforcement action.
Jody Brennan and her daughter Maddie photographed Wednesday, June 29, 2022, at Memorial Park in Shakopee, Minn. ] CARLOS GONZALEZ • carlos.gonzalez@

State action vs. disability service provider could affect hundreds

Bridges MN has been sanctioned more than 50 times for a wide range of health and safety violations.
Legislative Auditor Judy Randall, testified about the federally funded meals program Feeding our Future, Monday, April 4, 2022, St. Paul, Minn. ] GLEN

Minnesota's child welfare policies vary widely across state, report finds

The number of children removed from families has dropped sharply in recent years, a report from the legislative auditor has found.
A former resident of a homeless encampment along Bloomington Ave. S., near 26th St. E. moves her belongings before city officials cleared the camp Thu

Homeless Minnesotans struggle to get COVID-19 vaccine

An expansive new study found that rates of vaccination among Minnesotans who are homeless or in jail are drastically lower than in the general population, suggesting they are not getting equal access to the shots despite aggressive outreach.
Dr. Tanya Melnik and Olesia Sarazhynskyy 17, sort medical supplies.

Tourniquets and body armor: A lifeline of help for Ukraine

A volunteer effort more than 5,000 miles away in Minnesota ships crucial supplies to the front lines.

Tourniquets, body armor, ambulances: A lifeline from Minnesota to Ukraine

A volunteer effort more than 5,000 miles away in Minnesota ships crucial supplies to the front lines.
Katheryn Ware is her son Kylen’s daytime personal care aide three days a week as well as nights. The 27-year-old has quadriplegic cerebral palsy, pr

Minnesotans with disabilities feel left behind amid workforce shortage

More than 3,500 adults with disabilities await openings in day and employment programs, according to an industry survey.

'The system is in ruins': Minnesotans with disabilities feel left behind amid workforce shortage

Relatives gathered in September for a funeral service for Marcoz, 14, one of two teens killed in a crash during a high-speed chase. His mother, Tanya

Minnesota's juvenile justice system failing youth, families, victims

A Star Tribune examination of hundreds of juvenile court records finds that the system is failing to effectively intervene in the lives of Minnesota's most troubled youth, often despite anguished pleas from parents.

Large fire drives hundreds from apartment building in New Hope

One person was taken to the hospital with injuries.