What SOS really means

State Operated Services focuses on treating people with mental illness, developmental disabilities, addictions, traumatic brain injury, and other issues. It treats people with different needs in different types of settings.

SOS includes inpatient psychiatric hospitals; the sex-offender program at Moose Lake; the Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter; a variety of addiction and mental health clinics in a dozen communities; and the small, MSOCS group homes in 33 counties. Inadequate staffing is a constant in all these settings, AFSCME members say.

Overall, State Operated Services cut its workforce by 18 percent from 2008 through August 2011. That’s 852 full-time-equivalent positions. Half the SOS workforce is now part-time. “It’s not doing more with less,” one AFSCME worker says. “It’s doing everything with nothing.”