Redesigning the Work of Human Services

By John O'Looney | Go to book overview

ing some competition, but not too much, among different community service collaboratives.


NOTES
1.
The term locality, in the context of this article refers to county-sized jurisdictions in which a social services collaborative of public, private, and nonprofit providers plan, fund, implement, and evaluate a coordinated service strategy for children and families.
2.
For example, minority employment at the Georgia Department of Human Resources comprises approximately 54 percent of total employment.
3.
Madisonian theories of federalism would suggest that governance in a larger or national republic would, over the long run, tend to provide more protection against political factions or the power of narrow interest groups due to the incentives for compromise that exist because of the potential for shifting coalitions. Interest groups will be less likely to engage in winner-take-all strategies; they may become a "loser-who- loses-all" during a subsequent decision-making round. On the other hand, some political scientists have suggested that very narrowly constituted interest groups are only effective in getting special legislation passed or special favors done at the national level because such groups are able to concentrate enough resources to make their incentives and threats credible.
4.
While there are moral imperatives for not allowing strategic or evolutionary solutions to problems to emerge (e.g., the Southern system of slavery, some historians have noted, would likely have collapsed under the weight of competition from "free labor," but the morally repugnant nature of slavery dictated that this process not run its course), once basic moral considerations of equal access and due process have been met, mandating the use of one human service system may not be desirable. Just as the demise of communism has helped us to become more humble with respect to our abilities to plan or engineer economies and whole societies, so should we become more cautious with respect to our ability to build a one-best social service delivery system. Instead, we need to begin to explore some propositions that will help build in mechanisms for competition, flexibility, innovation, and accountability.
5.
See Lashawn A. v. Dixon, 762F; Supp. 959 (D.D.C. 1991). In this case, the District of Columbia was successfully sued by attorneys representing a foster care child. The District was forced to make substantial improvements in its foster care and social service systems.
6.
State courts and legislatures in several states have declared that existing financing arrangements that result in wealthy communities raising and spending more on education than poorer communities are unacceptable.
7.
Ironically, the business elite in many communities have failed to realize that their support for private schools, in particular, results in a major resource drain. Currently, communities, where a significant proportion of the school-age population go to private schools, lose the outside state dollars that would otherwise go to support these students in public schools. Most of these lost dollars would have been spent in the community to stimulate further economic development. The reduced level of economic development also has its flip side--an increase in the need for social services and public assistance.

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