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

William Waldman

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the American Public Human Services Association (APHSA) as the premier association representing those who lead, plan, deliver, or care about public human services. It is truly awesome to contemplate the evolution of our nation's social welfare policies and programs that has occurred during those 70 years. Such fundamental programs as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid were put in place. Welfare and child welfare programs were established, revised, and reformed. Child Support Enforcement, Food Stamps, Head Start, and the State Children's Health Insurance programs were born, expanded, and refined.

Looking ahead, especially over the short term, it is also awesome to contemplate what will occur. The nation's welfare program--TANF, the federal Food Stamp program, the Stable and Safe Families Act, the Older Americans Act-- is scheduled for reauthorization. Efforts to reform Medicare, to add a prescription drug benefit and put this massive program on a more secure financial footing, will likely have profound effects on the states' Medicaid program. It is likely we will see significant changes in the manner in which child welfare and child support services are financed. All of these program transitions will also occur in a context of continuing devolution and a changed political landscape, given the upcoming national elections for a new president and Congress.

More than ever before, there is a need for those of us who operate these important programs--those of us who have gained intimate knowledge as to how policies are translated into practice--to add our collective voice to the national human services policy debates and deliberations that will take place. …

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