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DHS News July 2012  

County Welcomes NACo Conference

Representatives from hundreds of counties from around the country descended on Pittsburgh from July 13 - 17, as Allegheny County hosted the 2012 National Association of Counties Annual Conference and Exposition. Fittingly, the Department of Human Services was well represented, with DHS staff members speaking at conference sessions, volunteering to greet visitors and helping to coordinate some conference services. 

Among those taking part in sessions was Mary Soroka, administrator of special projects, Office of Administrative and Information Management Services (AIMS), who was part of a panel on how technology can improve government efficiency. According to Mary, “I was able to share several things that DHS has implemented to streamline processes. For example, DHS has established many uses for document storage using specific software that allows for better document sharing, saving money and staff time.”

Mary Jo Dickson, administrator, DHS Office of Behavioral Health (OBH), together with other representatives of the Jail Collaborative program, spoke on the county efforts to reduce the rates of recidivism. Also, JoAnn Hannah, transition programs manager, presented on the relationship DHS has forged with Community College of Allegheny County, particularly, educational programs for foster youth.

Several staff members helped out at the county welcome booth and hotel welcome tables, giving directions and tips on Pittsburgh attractions, as well as offering details on some specific DHS programs. The conference offered a wonderful opportunity to share departmental practices and successes with other counties, and there was plenty of program-related literature made available to those interested.

One final note of appreciation should be extended to Rich Venezia, administrator, Office of Community Services (OCS) Bureau of Hunger and Homeless Services, who coordinated for the conference to collect unused toiletries from hotel visitors. These items were donated to Womansplace East Emergency Shelter. 

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