Policy & Practice

A professional journal publishing articles on current health and human services issues for wide audience. Coverage includes social policy issues, reports of significant works of human service practitioners, social work theory and legislation, and editoria

Articles from Vol. 68, No. 3, June

Adoption Change Helps Foster Parents
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The D.C. Council passed emergency legislation in late April to make it easier for foster families to provide permanent homes for children, especially older ones, who often languish in the child welfare system. For years, some...
All about the Health Care Reform
NASMD National Association of State Medicaid Directors an affiliate of the American Public Human Services Association The health care reform bill signed by the president on March 30 will require most individuals to have health insurance beginning...
Biggest Loser Takes on Paper
To be healthy you need to manage what you take into your body. The same applies to a good case management system. New Hampshire's Division of Family Assistance case management system relied extensively on paper-based processes. There was no way to...
Business Analytics Offers Key to Smarter Human Services
A year ago, I wrote in these pages about the need for human service agencies to be "smarter"--to become more efficient, effective and responsive to the people they serve. In the "new normal" economic environment, with sustained high caseloads and ever-shrinking...
Challenges and Possibilities
The late March 2010 APHSA/NAPCWA Spring Conference was a resounding success, with a much-better-than-expected turnout for important speakers such as DHHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, CMS Director Cindy Mann and Assistant Secretary for Children and...
Child Welfare and Court Collaboration
Judges and child welfare professionals are becoming more engaged to have open and honest discussions about challenges and needed change for systems to improve the lives of children and families. This relationship has evolved over time. Court and child...
Chronic Child Neglect: Building Knowledge and Fostering Hope
Chronic child neglect is not unlike global warming in that it is a seemingly intractable problem involving a combination of human and environmental factors. Global warming entails changes in the earth's climate--in part due to human actions--that appear...
Complexifying and Optimalizing
I often say that this column writes itself. In just one day last month my doctor's nurse told me that she had to wait a few minutes before "rooming" me. Then her colleague told me after my visit with the doctor that we shouldn't schedule two procedures...
Delivering Outstanding Services during Tough Times
It is no news that this economic recession, the worst one since 1930, is hitting hard on state governments' budgets. As a way to offset the negative results of the current situation, governors and legislatures implement drastic cost-controlling measures....
Driving Case Outcomes in Child Welfare: Are Performance-Based Contracts the Answer?
Child welfare agencies keep trying to figure out how to improve child outcomes. And they aren't alone. Across the country, states contract with private agencies for services. Discussions with public child welfare administrators held by the federally...
EHSResults: Using Performance Measurement to Transform a Culture
Within my first few weeks as secretary of health and human services for the commonwealth of Massachusetts, I was tasked with approving the Executive Office of Health and Human Services' budget for the coming year. As a physician coming from the evidence-based...
Electronic ICPC Processing
From the perspective of a child removed from her parents and placed in emergency foster care, there should be no barrier to a quick placement with an available relative. If that relative lives nearby or even in the same state, the process of requesting...
Getting More Done with Less: How Lean Six Sigma Enhances Performance
Abraham Lincoln once said the dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. The overall challenges facing the health and human service agencies in our...
Guidelines for Success in Procuring Information Technology Systems
Government agency buyers must make the wisest possible decisions and take the time needed to negotiate a protective agreement when purchasing information technology systems and services to realize the potential benefits of a new IT system or service...
How Creating a Shared Vision Can Improve More Than Outcomes
Does your agency have a vision for how families and children will be served? Do your community partners share your vision or do they have their own? Is it necessary to create a shared vision in human services? Many public and private child welfare...
Improved Outreach Leads to Decline in Pennsylvania Child Abuse Cases
HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Increased family and community outreach about child abuse prevention and greater public education about the causes of abuse contributed to a decline in child abuse in 2009, said Welfare Secretary Harriet Dichter. The 2009 Annual...
In Our Doers Profile, We Highlight Some of the Hardworking and Talented Individuals in Public Human Services. This Issue Features Reggie Bicha of the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families
Name: Reggie Bicha Title: Secretary, Wisconsin Department of Children and Families Years of Service: About two years as the inaugural secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families. Over 15 years in public service to Wisconsin's...
Iowa Streamlines Abuse-Reporting
DES MOINES, Iowa -- Changes planned for the Iowa Department of Human Services could make reporting child abuse more efficient and more consistent and put it in line with recommendations made almost 10 years ago after a northwest Iowa girl was beaten...
L.A. County Departments Take Collaboration to New Heights
In order to improve the well-being and safety of children and help families toward economic self-sufficiency, the Los Angeles County of Public Social Services and Children and Family Services have partnered to implement the Statewide Linkages initiative....
On Child Obesity
I recently had the pleasure of attending the White House meeting on childhood obesity, hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama. Participating, too, were three Cabinet secretaries, the Surgeon General, the OMB director, and the President's chief domestic...
President Signs Health Care Reform into Law; Congress Passes Package of "Fixes"
On March 23, President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (P.L. 111-148); on March 30, Obama also signed the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-152), which made a number of changes to the health...
Professional Development Is Vital
Pennsylvania's Department of Public Welfare provides health care and human services to more than 2 million Pennsylvanians--one out of six--and, like so many other public and private entities, we are striving to improve the lives of people who are struggling...
Promoting Social Worker Safety and Wellness
While the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families has long recognized the personal dangers inherent in child protection services, agency policies that directly support workplace safety are relatively young to our organization's culture. In...
When Bad News Strikes, Stop Digging and Start Talking
It was Will Rogers who said "When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging." Rogers was many things--entertainer, actor--but to my knowledge never a public information officer. Still his advice on hole-digging would make a perfect mantra for PIOs...
With the Strategy Support Tool: Improving Organizational Decision-Making
With shrinking budgets and reduced staff, performance improvement across an organization is more important than ever. Yet, many find it hard to systematically solve problems and increase effectiveness. A number of factors come into play: * Missing...