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DHS... A Decade of Progress

DHS Ten-year Anniversary Report
DHS News Series on Integration Efforts 
Town Meetings
Website Redesign
RAND Corporation Study
University Symposia
Local Government Case Competition

DHS Ten-year Anniversary Report

pdf.gif Realizing a Community Vision A Decade of Progress 1997-2007
pdf.gif Contributors to the Ten-year Report and their comments

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DHS News Series on Integration Efforts

Beginning March 2006 DHS heralded its ten-year anniversary by highlighting each of our offices.

pdf.gif March DHS prepares to celebrate its Ten-year anniversary, will highlight collaborative achievements throughout 2006
pdf.gif April DHS Ten-year Anniversary – Focus on the Executive Office: Integrated System of Care
pdf.gif May DHS Ten-year Anniversary - Focus on the Office of Information Management: HumanServices.Net
pdf.gif June DHS Ten-year Anniversary - Focus on the Office of Community Relation: Web Redesign
pdf.gif July DHS Ten-year Anniversary - Focus on the Area Agency on Aging
pdf.gif August DHS Ten-year Anniversary - Office of Administration
pdf.gif September DHS Ten-year Anniversary - Office of Behavioral Health - Behavioral Health/CYF Liaison
pdf.gif October DHS Ten-year Anniversary - Office of Children, Youth and Families - A National Leader
pdf.gif November DHS Ten-year Anniversary - Office of Community Services - Serving CYF Youth
pdf.gif December DHS Ten-year Anniversary - Office of Mental Retardation/Developmental Disabilities: Provider Reporting System

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Town Meetings

DHS held six public town meetings in June 2006 to encourage and gather public comment on the work we do and to identify ways to make improvements where necessary. As DHS approached its ten-year anniversary, we felt it was important to hear from those we serve and from other interested residents of Allegheny County about these topics.

The Director of the Department of Human Services, Marc Cherna was present at each meeting. Administrators of the Area Agency on Aging, and the offices of Behavioral Health; Children, Youth and Families; Community Services and Mental Retardation/Developmental Disabilities as well as members of various DHS advisory boards were also present to field questions.

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DHS Website Redesign

The DHS web site, with the entire Allegheny County web site, was redesigned with better navigation and information for users of all types: consumers, families, the general public, media, and providers.  The site was launched March 19, 2007.  Read about the redesign in the pdf.gif June issue of DHS News.

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RAND Corporation Study

Justice, Treatment, and Cost: An Evaluation of the Fiscal Impact of Allegheny County Mental Health Court

In recognition of its 10 years of serving the communities of Allegheny County, DHS planned a series of events to report back to the community and those stakeholders who have contributed towards the innovation and progression of an integrated Department.  Over the past decade, the unprecedented collaboration among government, community leaders, foundations, and the public at large has been instrumental in transforming human service delivery in our region.  DHS is now serving more people seamlessly in settings that are more accessible and in ways that foster independence, self-sufficiency and permanency while addressing the totality of an individual’s or a family’s needs. 

On May 3, the RAND Corporation hosted a kick-off event as a first in a series of discussions that served to celebrate, inform, and inspire.  This celebration featured a panel discussion that included three of RAND’s researchers whom prompted us to think about ways in which we may better serve the community.  They looked at issues surrounding community building, changing demographics, social welfare policy, and how future trends would impact the operation of DHS.

While recognizing the progress that has been made in the last 10 years of collaboration with the various Allegheny County community partners, a significant part of the recognition events was to realize the direction of the Department of Human Services future.

pdf.gif DHS Ten-year Anniversary Event: May 3, 2007 Overview

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Media Coverage about RAND Corporation Study

Allegheny County Mental Health Court lauded
Tribune Review, March 2, 2007

Mental Health Court cost-saving alternative to jail
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, March 1, 2007

Mental Health Courts Have Potential to Save Taxpayers Money, Rand Study for Council of State Governments Justice Center Finds
AScribe, March 1, 2007

Study: Mental health courts save money
United Press International®, March 1, 2007

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University Symposia

University Of Pittsburgh
Graduate School of Public & International Affairs
Organizational Strategies for Community Services

The University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs joined in the year-long DHS tenth anniversary celebration.  This event was the second in a series of Symposiums hosted by local educational institutions that over the years have collaborated with the Department of Human Services in the design, delivery, and evaluation of performance of services for Allegheny County residents.  The overarching theme addressed Continuity in Community Service through Changing Times as the panelists both looked back at the initial decade of the Department to reflect on the challenges, opportunities, and accomplishments of its first decade, and then took a glimpse into the future to new possibilities and strategies for action.  The dialogue focused on three areas of concern confronting the Department.  These were the continuing issues of designing effective services for the aging population, developing more effective practices for the transition of incarcerated residents back into constructive lives, and utilizing information technology in the design, monitoring, evaluation and redesign of all services to the residents of Allegheny County.

Carnegie Mellon University, H. John Heinz School
Technology and Human Services

Carnegie Mellon University, Heinz School of Public Policy and Management hosted a symposium on Information Technology and Human Services.  This event was the third in the series celebrating ten years of an integrated human services department. The panelists reviewed the Department’s accomplishments including its pioneering use of data warehouses, geographic information systems, and other technologies to integrate internal and external data into a system for policy analysis and management.  The topics ranged from developing policy systems to modeling flows in complex systems to data confidentiality and privacy concerns; all of which reviewed the current state of affairs and explored promising practices and emerging trends.

University of Pittsburgh, School of Social Work
Best Practices for Social Work in Human Services

The social work profession continues to generate a significant number of professionals working at all levels - from direct practice to management and leadership - in the human service arena.  Throughout its first ten years, the Department of Human Services worked closely with the School of Social Work in research, education, and practice endeavors that have helped shape a successful first decade.  Hosting the final forum, the School of Social Work’s sessions integrated discussions across the lifespan as well as critical human service fields and dimensions as well as race disparities and diversity issues for education and research.

Moving forward into the next ten years, the School of Social Work’s tenth anniversary celebration provided an opportunity to reflect on the past while looking at the research, education, and best practices that better defined issues and challenges for preparing social workers for the next decade practice in the human services. 

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Local Government Case Competition

pdf.gif Case Competition Summary

A Road Less Traveled: Scholars in Local Government by Carnegie Mellon University

In 2007, DHS celebrated its ten years as an integrated department serving the community. To commemorate this anniversary, DHS planned a series of events to report back to the community and those stakeholders who have contributed towards the innovation and progression of an integrated Department. In addition to a series of programs involving RAND, Carnegie Mellon University, and the University of Pittsburgh, DHS sought to engage students in the celebration through a Local Government Case Competition.

Through this competition, DHS sought to apply the creativity and knowledge of students in local graduate schools toward considering how DHS will look in the next ten years. Competing teams worked to solve a real problem under simulated business conditions such as tight deadlines and incomplete information to formulate workable, action-oriented recommendations. Student teams presented their results to panels of community stakeholders and DHS staff on November 10th.

The event was successful in: (1) engaging graduate students in local government (especially human services) issues; (2) encouraging graduate students to consider employment opportunities with DHS; (3) providing to DHS provocative ideas about the future; (4) building relationships amongst local graduate students; (5) opening communications between Case Competition Judges and graduate students; and, (6) allowing students to practice what they are learning in a supportive atmosphere.

Cash prizes were awarded to the first, second, and third place teams. 

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