Since 1997, DHS has been working with internal and external stakeholders to improve the way human services are made available and evaluated.
The ultimate goal of these continuous efforts is to achieve the most effective and efficient human services delivery system possible. And since it is the rare individual or family that has only one issue contributing to their involvement with the Department, especially in more difficult times, DHS has long advocated, and often implemented, a multi-system approach to service delivery.
In the ideal multi-system approach, not only are all applicable DHS offices included, but also criminal justice, education, and the broader public and private sector. Highlighted below are some of the most prominant multi-system programs that benefit the persons who utilize human services through DHS.
Allegheny County Jail Collaborative
The Allegheny County Jail Collaborative, consisting of DHS, the Allegheny County Jail (ACJ), and the Allegheny County Health Department, was created in 2000 because county leadership observed that not enough was being done for former inmates to support their reentry into the community. Since that time, the Jail Collaborative has met on a monthly basis to address two primary goals: increasing public safety and reducing recidivism. To achieve these goals, the Collaborative joins the forces of government agencies, court officials, service providers, ex-offenders, faith-based community organizations, families and the community at large.
Work to build the basic structure of the DHS Data Warehouse began in 1999. Enhancements have been added unabated since. As of January 2009, the Data Warehouse contained more than 15 million client records, received data from 24 independent operating applications, is supplemented with the US Census bureau and is capable of reporting data in “real time”—meaning, if required, the system can be refreshed overnight. The Data Warehouse has evolved to be a central repository of social services data, which allows DHS to track and report client demographic and service data across its program offices and beyond. Since the Data Warehouse enables data-driven decision making among DHS staff, it also makes possible better outcomes for the individuals served by the Department.
Improving Outcomes for Children and Families in Allegheny County (Improving Outcomes) Initiative
Improving Outcomes works toward two critical goals: Supporting children and families in a way that reduces the number of children who need to be taken out of their families and/or communities to remain safe AND decreasing a youth's or family's long-term need for formal, paid support by increasing the use of community-based and natural supports.
Integrated Services Planning (formerly known as Interagency Review Process) / Multi-system Rapid Response Team / RESPOND (Residential Enhancement Service Planning Opportunities for New Directions)
DHS has a wide variety of services available for children and families to assist them to live safe and productive lives. Some children and young adults face serious barriers to well-being because their lives are complicated by multiple complex issues such as intellectual disability, severe emotional disturbances, violent behaviors and mental illness. DHS has developed three “whatever it takes” service delivery programs that pull together natural supports associated with the child and his or her family as well as representatives from all appropriate systems to determine the best solution for the child.