Academic journal article Policy & Practice of Public Human Services

Letter from the Executive Director

Academic journal article Policy & Practice of Public Human Services

Letter from the Executive Director

Article excerpt

The year 2000 marks a crossroads in national public human services policy. A new president and a new Congress will be elected and confronted with the challenge of reauthorizing such core programs as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and the federal Food Stamp Program. They will wrestle with the dilemma of what is popularly referred to as "saving" Medicare, which in reality will require them to deal with Medicaid and the broad array of health and social programs for seniors that are inextricably intertwined with Medicare.

The new president and the new Congress will also be confronted with the need to rethink how the nation finances both child welfare and child support enforcement services. Current financing methodologies for these vital endeavors for children and families have become outdated by recent events, are insufficient to preserve the infrastructure of services and supports necessary to get these jobs done, and are no longer tied to the outcomes the American people desire for these programs.

Will the policy of devolution be sustained? What will the federal/state relationship circumscribing the human services be in the new millennium? What will be the new national funding level and formula for states for the new TANF? Will the Food Stamp Program evolve in tandem and in relative conformity with state-operated welfare programs or will the disconnect continue? Will we deal seriously with senior care or will we tinker at the margins, ignoring the cascading demographics and costs associated with providing social and health services necessary for this population? …

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