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Citizens Advisory Council

 M McGuire & K McDermott smile

Citizens are Valuable CHS Resources

In 1979, the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners established the Citizens Advisory Council to give citizens the ability to influence policy decisions related to services delivered by the Community Human Services Department (CHS). Citizen involvement is even more important today.

The CAC committees meet monthly and advise the County Board and are resources for CHS. | Learn More (pdf)


CAC Interest Committees

Do YOU want to volunteer to represent people in specific groups served by CHS? Read the information below, complete an application and send it in. | CAC 2015 Meetings (Word) | CAC 2015 meetings (pdf)
All potential members EXCEPT Children's Services Review Panel (CSRP)may  Apply here for Membership (pdf) 

Adult Services Committee

ASC represents adults age 60 and older who have difficulty living independently or are at risk of abuse, neglect, or exploitation, and persons between 18 and 60, who have major physical or neurological disabilities. |  Learn more AS Committee (pdf)

Chemical Health Committee

CHC represents low-income adolescents and adults, including pregnant women, whose drug or alcohol use creates a situation where they are not capable of managing themselves or their personal affairs. |  Learn More Chemical Health Committee-Chem Dep (pdf)

Children’s Mental Health Advisory Council

CMHC represents families with a child who has an emotional disturbance or a severe emotional disturbance, an organic disorder of the brain, or a clinically significant disorder of thought, mood, perception, orientation, memory or behavior. The condition seriously limits a child’s capacity to function in primary aspects of daily living. |  Learn more Childrens Mental Health Committee (pdf)

Children’s Services Review Panel

CSRP represents children who need protective services, because a caretaker is unable to care for them, or because they are victims of abuse or neglect. The children may be: under state guardianship; adolescent parents or minors who are pregnant; on probation; or under age 10 and have committed a delinquent act or are runaways or truants. | CSRP (only) Application, Resources and Links | Learn more Childrens Services Review Panel CSRP (pdf)

Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Committee

The IDDC represents people diagnosed (before age 22) as having IQs below 70. People with IDD have significant functional limits and adaptive behaviors. IDD includes related conditions such as cerebral palsy, epilepsy, autism and other conditions. People with IDD, family and professionals participate on the committee. |  Self-advocates NeededLearn more about IDD Committee (pdf)

Low Income Committee

This committee represents individuals and families who need help meeting their basic needs for food, shelter, clothing and medical care, because their income falls below federal poverty guidelines.  | Learn more Low Income Committee (pdf)

Mental Health Advisory Council

MHAC represents adults with mental illness, an organic disorder of the brain or a clinically significant disorder of thought, mood, perception, orientation, memory, or behavior that seriously limits their capacity to function in primary aspects of daily living.

Volunteer Opportunities for People Living With Mental Illness by MHAC (13 pp pdf) 

Community Events & Social Activities for People Living with Mental Illness by MHAC (19 pp pdf)

Learn More Adult Mental Health Committee (pdf)

CAC Responsibilities and Membership


  • Provide insight, observations, ideas, and challenges from a community perspective regarding the needs of specific vulnerable populations served by the Community Human Services Department.
  • Identify service gaps or inequities, and community priorities related to human services.
  • Provide input about program development or changes, service area budgets, and legislative proposals.
  • Educate the broader community about relevant issues and public programming.
  • Participate in legislative advocacy on behalf of the vulnerable citizens represented.
  • Share information and support with other members of the CAC.
  • Participate in developing an annual presentation to the Board by each advisory committee.
  • Initiate reports and recommendations or committee projects that relate to the service delivery system.
Note: The Children’s Mental Health Advisory Council, the Mental Health Advisory Council, and the Children’s Services Review Panel have additional responsibilities according to state statute and federal law.

Member Expectations

  • Members must live or work in Ramsey County.
  • Each member is appointed by the Board to serve for a two-year term, with a limit of three terms, or six consecutive years of service.
  • Members are expected to make a commitment of time to participate in monthly meetings.
  • The time commitment may vary from five hours a month (reviewing materials, traveling to and from the meeting and meeting participation) to 10 hours a month (serving as an officer, representing the committee on the CAC, participating in a work group.)
  • Members participate from the perspective of the overall needs of Ramsey County citizens, not just their constituent group or organization, and not individual agendas.

Member Benefits

Members benefit from the network of people they meet by serving on an advisory committee—other members, participants, guests, and resource people. Members have an opportunity to expand their knowledge on very important social issues and will become stronger advocates and leaders. Participation on an advisory committee enables members to make a difference in the lives of others that they may not be able to make alone.