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About the Department of Human Services

The Department of Human Services (DHS) is Oregon’s principal agency for helping Oregonians achieve wellbeing and independence through opportunities that protect, empower, respect choice and preserve dignity, especially for those who are least able to help themselves.

DHS provides direct services to more than 1 million Oregonians each year. These services provide a key safety net for those in our society who are most vulnerable or who are at a difficult place in their life.

DHS Vision, Mission and Goals

Vision: Safety, health and independence for all Oregonians. 

Mission: To help Oregonians in their own communities achieve wellbeing and independence through opportunities that protect, empower, respect choice and preserve dignity.  

Goals

  • People are safe and living as independently as possible. 
  • People are able to support themselves and their families through stable living wage employment. 
  • Children and youth are safe, well and connected to their families, communities and cultural identities. 
  • Choices made by seniors and people with disabilities about their own lives are honored. 
  • Partners, clients and stakeholders are actively engaged in a variety of collaborative and meaningful ways. 
  • Culturally specific and responsive services are provided by highly qualified and diverse staff.
  • The department is committed to equal access, service excellence and equity for all Oregonians ​

Core Values

Keeping our Core Values at the heart of what we do ensures our outcomes are aligned with our mission and goals.Taking the time to examine our values keeps us on a consistent path, working toward what we believe in, and rising to the challenge of including them in the choices we make in our daily work.

Below are the seven Core Values that provide the foundation for how we interact with our clients and co-workers.

Integrity. We maintain the highest standards of individual and institutional INTEGRITY. Doing what is right even though no one is watching; a self-assigned and self-enforced obligation to do the right thing.

Innovation. DHS is committed to sustaining a learning culture which seeks to continually improve how we do our work. To meet the ever changing needs of the individuals we serve and of our communities, we implement the best and most INNOVATIVE practices. We encourage people at all levels to bring forth new ideas in an open, collaborative environment.

Respect. We RESPECT the diversity of our workforce, our community and the people we assist. We are attentive to personal dignity and receptive to diverse ideas. We recognize the value of respecting individuality, personal experience and diverse cultural backgrounds.

Service Equity. Service equity is a measure of results, not effort. We use individual approaches which are free from bias or favoritism to achieve our common outcomes. SERVICE EQUITY creates an environment of fairness and respect that values, attracts and supports diversity.

Responsibility. We take RESPONSIBILITY for our actions. We hold ourselves accountable to the populations we serve—the public, customers, clients, partners, volunteers, contractors, other governmental bodies and the Legislature. We understand that each of these relationships requires us to accept different responsibilities and that we manager them to advance the DHS Mission.

Stewardship. Because all Oregonians have a stake in the actions of public sector employees, we are accountable in actin and attitude for this STEWARDSHIP of the public trust. All DHS employees, regardless of job title or classification, are stewards of the public trust and use public resources to fulfill the DHS mission of assisting people to become independent, healthy and safe.

Professionalism. We maintain the highest standards of PROFESSIONALISM. We adhere to standards, methods, behaviors and personal characteristics demonstrated by the best workers in their respective fields. We follow these guidelines regardless of our formal expertise, credentials or interaction with the public.

History

1971: The Oregon Legislature created the Oregon Department of Human Resources, an agency providing a spectrum of human services to individuals, families and communities. Over the years parts of the agency were spun off, becoming the Oregon Department of Corrections, Oregon Employment Department, the Oregon Youth Authority, and the Oregon Department of Housing and Community Services.

2001: The Oregon Legislature reorganized the department and changed its name from the Oregon Department of Human Resources to the Oregon Department of Human Services. 

2009: The Oregon Legislature transferred many of the health related functions to the newly created Oregon Health Authority. Today, the Department of Human Services key functions serve children, adults and families and seniors and people with disabilities.

 

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