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DHS: Making an Impact

A series of DHS publications that focus on the impact our services are having on real people rather than on budget figures or service data. All documents are in .pdf format.

Nursing Home Transition
Published November 2014
Living at home in the community is a winning situation not only for the person who enjoys the freedom that comes with having one’s own place but for everyone associated with him or her. The Nursing Home Transition program provides the resources necessary for people to move from a residential facility back into a home they can call their own. Read more about how it’s helping improve lives.

Scholars Impact
Published September 2014
The Scholars in Local Government program taps talented individuals whose studies touch on social work, public administration, law, education and more, to complete high-profile projects, and bring fresh perspectives to DHS’s work.  

Senior Companion Program
Published July 2014
The Senior Companion program, operated by the DHS Area Agency on Aging, brings friendship, help and hope to people who would otherwise be alone, and relieves caregivers for a few hours so they can take care of themselves.

RESPOND
Published May 2014
The Residential Enhancement Service Planning Opportunities for New Directions (RESPOND) program was created for the rare instances where a child requires an extraordinary level of multidisciplinary planning and assistance to stabilize and restore his or her sense of well-being. Read an example of one youth who has benefited from this unique program.

Holiday Project
Published March 2014
The DHS Holiday Project is an effort that brings together the whole community for the betterment of children in our county's child welfare system. Employees at large corporations and small mom-and-pop shops, scout groups, churches, clubs and individuals donate money and gifts or hold toy and book drives to help bring holiday cheer to those receiving CYF services. 

Community Services Block Grant Self-Sufficiency Initiative 
Published January 2014
The CSBG Self-Sufficiency Initiative helps meet the needs of individuals and promotes community success through assisting people in finding the education, transportation or psychological support that they need to find a job and better their financial situation. 

Education Specialists
Published October 2013
DHS Education Specialists bridge the knowledge gap between families and what school districts are required by law to do for children to make sure they can access education, and therefore have a more productive, satisfying life. Read two examples of how these specialists are making a difference.

Money in Your Pocket
Published May 2013
Money in Your Pocket is a free tax service that works to get the highest possible refund for qualifying wage-earners. It does this, in part, by tapping into the Earned Income Tax Credit. Read more about how this program works, who it helps, and the volunteers that are making it a success.

Allegheny County Music Festival Fund
Published March 2013
There are many basic needs that don't easily fit into a traditional government funding stream, and that's where the Allegheny County Music Festival Fund comes in.  The fund creates a resource that pays for life-enriching opportunities and items that are not otherwise available through government funding. Here are just a few examples of how the fund has made a difference in someone's life.

Immigrants and Internationals Advisory Council
Published February 2013.
As the Allegheny County population continues to grow and change, DHS strives to ensure that our services and supports are accessible and culturally appropriate for everyone. The Immigrants and Internationals Advisory Council is a vehicle to educate the immigrant community on existing services and broaden access to, and cultural competency of, the human services at DHS and other community organizations. Read more to find out how it's helping.

Family Caregiver Support Program
Published December 2012.
There are many benefits in allowing older adults to continue living at home, but it can be a challenge to the relatives and friends who provide support. To help alleviate this stress, the DHS Area on Aging offers assistance through its Family Caregiver Support Program. Meet two of the families who have been helped by the program, and learn more about what the program offers.

Ready for Reentry
Published July 2012.
When parents finally walk out of jail, nothing is as important to their children as having them stay out. This is a goal of the Allegheny County Jail Collaborative's Family Support program. Read about A.P. and Derrick, two program participants who have noticed enormous changes in both their family and personal lives.

The Allegheny Link to Aging and Disability Resources
Published July 2012.
Since being established in 2006, the Allegheny Link to Aging and Disability Resources has helped a growing number of callers looking for assistance that is person-centered, holistic and individualized. The Link staff has a variety of resources to help callers meet a full range of needs, including food housing, utility assistance, in-home therapy, home modification and much more. The two stories included here highlight the value that the Link provides, bringing resources within easy reach.

Human Services Development Fund
Published April 2012.
Services offered by DHS and our more than 300 provider agencies comes from funding that is often restricted to a specific program or population. But when individuals do not meet the requirements for traditional funding streams, the Human Services Development Fund allows for wider discretionary spending. Meet two people whose lives are made a little more manageable because of HSDF support.

Youth Support Partners (YSP)
Published January 2012.
In the on-going commitment to finding innovative solutions for helping the hardest-to-reach youth, DHS established a Youth Support Partners Unit (YSP). YSP is a peer-to-peer mentor program, allowing troubled youth to make connections with others who have been helped by DHS services. Read one youth's story of the positive outcomes his support partner helped him achieve.

Director's Action Line
Published November 2011.
Every year, the DAL receives thousands of contacts from the public. These calls, emails and face-to face meetings include concerns, requests for information, referrals to resources and clarification of policies and practices. Although this number of contacts shows the magnitude of the DAL's work, the actual consumers are the ones who can testify to the positive impact the DAL has on individuals and families as well as the larger human services system.

Drug & Alcohol Services 
Published September 2011.
Although the road to recovery from substance use disorder is unique for each individual, there is one common thread — recovery is a life-long commitment requiring perseverance, support and access to adequate services and resources. The stories of Mary and Rita serve as a testament that substance abuse treatment services are effective and people can and do recover from substance use.

Drug Court 
Published August 2011.
The Allegheny County Drug Court places drug users involved in the criminal justice system into an intensive drug treatment program as an alternative to incarceration to help them become drug-free and return to a productive lifestyle. For Jerome Maynor, the Allegheny County Drug Court opened the door to a new life, a life without handcuffs and prison bars, where he has become, in his own words, "a productive citizen instead of a menace to society."

Jail Collaborative
Published June 2011.
Read how two former inmates benefitted from the work of the Jail Collaborative and reshaped their futures by taking advantage of family reunification, treatment and services in the jail and intensive supports upon their return home.

Family Support Centers 
Published May 2011.
No family is immune from struggle. Some face challenges that are best met by teaming up with others who have similar goals. Here we share three personal stories as told by parents who look back with gratitude for the opportunities family support centers have afforded them to grow.

AmeriCorps/KEYS Service Corps  
Published March 2011.
Kimmy Miller is one of the many KEYS members who has had a positive influence on youth in our communities. Her story about working with Steve, a youth at the Braddock Youth Project (BYP), is especially inspiring and serves as a solid example of the lives KEYS members are transforming.

Dom Care
Published March 2011.
Rose and Linda have shared a Dom Care home for nearly four years. Read how their stories illustrate the advantages of living in a private home as a "family."

Homelessness
Published December 2009.
Read how a couple of DHS consumers overcame homelessness with the help of DHS and its providers.

Senior Training and Employment Program (STEP) 
Published November 2009.
Read how the STEP program offers training and job placement assistance to unemployed county residents over 55 years of age. 

Mental Health Court 
Published April 2009.
Read personal testimonies from Mental Health Court alumni.

One Vision One Life 
Published February 2009.
Read how OVOL, an Allegheny County violence prevention program, was founded and how it has changed the lives of two people.

RESPOND 
Published February 2009.
Meet two young men whose lives have been changed by the personal attention their lives received from the Interagency Review Team, the DHS Rapid Response Team, and the RESPOND program.

Long-Term Care Ombudsman 
Published August 2008.
Read how committed advocates called "ombudsmen" are helping some of Allegheny County's most vulnerable citizens.

Family Group Decision Making 
Published August 2008.
Read how FGDM helped get one family that was involved with the child welfare system back on track.

Allegheny County / Pittsburgh Early Childhood Education Programs (ECEP) 
Published May 2008.
Discover how ECEP provides children with the 'head-start' they need.