You are invited to provide input and feedback to the Oregon
Department of Human Services (DHS) on our priorities and strategic direction
for 2015-17 and beyond in the following areas: Child Welfare, Aging and People
with Disabilities, Intellectual/Developmental Disability Services, Self
Sufficiency Programs (SNAP, TANF, ERDC), Vocational Rehabilitation, DHS agency
operations, and other human services issues.
Our community outreach this summer
has two goals:
Please make plans to attend a meeting in your local area -- or to log on for a statewide web-based meeting (if you are unable to attend in person). We need your help and ideas to ensure the safety, health and independence of all Oregonians!
Tuesday, August 5
Medford - Rogue Community College (RCC/SOU Higher Education Center)
10:00 am - 12:00 noon RSVP to: DHS.DirectorsOffice@dhsoha.state.or.us
subject line Medford
Thursday, August 7 (special online meeting for those unable to attend in
Statewide -- Web-based interactive meeting, sign-up info & other details to
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
RSVP to: DHS.DirectorsOffice@dhsoha.state.or.us
subject line Web
Join DHS Director Erinn Kelley-Siel and members of the DHS Executive Team for
an informative presentation and lively discussion about where the agency is
today and where we are going in the next two years and beyond. Additional
information will be coming soon - please forward this message to others who may
Please contact DHS.DirectorsOffice@dhsoha.state.or.us
I hope everyone enjoyed the long holiday weekend! As we celebrated our national independence, I also thought about how the idea of “independence” is central to who we are. Even if you’re somebody who wants or needs assistance, it’s a pretty all-American value to want that assistance in a way that preserves your dignity and our self-worth. As an organization, our mission, vision, goals and “Know Your Why” statements deal directly with the aim of helping people to live as independently as possible – so this message is to recognize some of our recent accomplishments in doing just that!
Last month, AARP recognized our Aging and People with Disabilities program for national excellence in providing long-term services and supports to seniors and people with disabilities. APD Director Mike McCormick was invited to speak at the news event in Washington, D.C. to talk about Oregon’s history of community care. You can watch a few of Mike’s remarks at that event on YouTube (or course!) In addition, there is all the work moving forward on SB 21 and the continued expansion of ADRC with the goal of keeping more people at home or in their communities.
The Office of Developmental Disability Services completed the functional needs assessments for nearly 2,000 individuals – and amazing accomplishment – to ensure they get the right services at the right level to keep them living as independently as possible. Completing the assessments by July 1 was a federal requirement, and ODDS staff and partners pitched in to get the backlog of overdue reviews done accurately and on time. Huge congratulations to everyone on this.
Our employment efforts have been continuing to gather momentum, thanks in part to the improving economy and increased hiring, but also because of the ongoing focus of DHS staff in SNAP, TANF, OVRS, ERDC and Employment First to help individuals get and maintain employment. There are so many benefits to a job – and a sense of independence is a very important aspect of working. Employment also stabilizes those families who have been through the worst of the recession to keep them from falling further behind or becoming even more at risk. Everyone is doing hard work and getting consistently good results.
Finally, our exceptional work in Child Welfare to develop and implement the array of services in the Strengthening, Preserving and Reunifying Families initiative is also setting the foundation for family stability and independence. These important support help parents deal with the serious issues that create unsafe conditions for their children – and as Differential Response continues to roll out across the state will help keep more children safely at home and out of foster care. The CW program is a good example of planning, implementation and monitoring that we should all follow.
Looking at all the work above, I think you’d have to agree that independence means something very real to the employees of DHS. It’s not an abstract idea – it’s our mission in action. I appreciate all that you’re doing to help people in your community live as independently as possible.
Have a great week!
What did I miss? Is there something going on right now that you want to make sure we also recognize? Let me know.
Two weeks ago, I shared a message with you about something I’ve been calling “Know Your Why” as a way for us to think more deeply and thoughtfully about our work here at DHS. I shared the “Know Your Why” statements that my Exec Team came up with, and I asked you all to read them. I also asked you to share your thoughts with me about your own “Know Your Why” statements. Thanks for the responses, and here are just a few examples:
Michael Mallorie said, “Wow, what a great opening to help draw folks into thinking about their WHY. I have watched the Simon Sinek presentation you referred to, and I agree it is very empowering. Maybe a good follow up would be sending out a link to the Sinek and encourage folks to watch the whole thing.” See the link at the bottom of this message.
Jenny Boyle said, “This is a powerful message. Thank you for sharing. I usually skim and delete, (sorry!), but this one really caught me. I’m wondering how case managers could use the phrase, “I believe..” with TANF participants, instead of “you are required…”
Julie LaChappelle said, “I wanted to add to the “Update IT Systems” a part about using data to inform how we service with evidence based practices rather than anecdotal information. If we are truly moving from an intuitive based system (at least in child welfare) to an information based system, then normalizing the use of data in every aspect of the work is important.”
Barbara Mahnu said, “This message really resonates because, as a team charged with a major IT project for an enterprise-wide system for case management, the WHYs were a major topic quite recently. To begin one work session, we started with Simon Sinek’s “Know Your Why” TEDTalk (one of my favorites).”
Jessica Soltesz sent me a PowerPoint that she said was her WHY for Long-Term Care 3.0. I’ve attached that one to this message, so you can see it, too.
Chuck Dunn said, “With so much information flowing through the organization- repeating critical themes is helpful to me. I have been struck recently by the errors uncovered in the GM investigation - one of the cultural issues GM employees revealed was what they called the “GM Nod”- nodding in agreement with no intention of following through- all levels.”
Clayton Rees said,” Why ask outsiders for inside information? We are used to asking “insiders”, i.e. those we work with, to help us with questions about resources to better serve our clients. Too often we don’t recognize “outsiders”, i.e. those who serve our clients in some other capacity, as a resource to answer our question(s) or provide needed information to help us better serve our clients. With the implementation of Community Care Organizations, CCO’s, does that provide yet an additional, collective, resource that would allow both DHS and the CCO’s to better serve mutual clients, i.e. collaborate? Are there other “outsiders” who we may not recognize as potential resources that could help us achieve better outcomes? Just a thought.”
Shaunia Scales said, ”I have to say I love this "Know your why" concept. I strongly feel that we don't work in social services for the pay or benefits, we work here for the people, we work here to make a difference, or because at some point in our lives we have needed help, and now want to be able to pay it forward. I work on the Modernization team, so the statements about Modernizing Service Delivery Transformation and Updating IT Systems is my world. I agree with what the statements said but there is a piece that I feel strongly about that I am not seeing there. That is -- we live in a world with amazing technology that can do some remarkable and astounding things, but what it can't do is be human. We also live in a world where money is tight, resources are highly sought after, and people expect more- more efficiency, more transparency, more respect, and more empathy. The only way we can meet this need is by leveraging technology to do what is does best, so we can free up our human potential do to what it does best.”
Lani Norona-Raines said, “Noting the complexity of the issues addressed, condensing these "Know Your Why" answers into single-sentence, concise statements presents a daunting challenge. However, single-sentence statements might be more thought provoking and more effective as motivational tools. Think of advertising slogans and our own one-word Core Values. When people ask me why I work for the DHS/State of Oregon, this is my answer: I work for the Department of Human Services because I believe in helping others, and I believe in the fundamental principal of government of the people, for the people, by the people."
Wise words from these employees, and I received several other comments, too. Thank you to everyone who took the time to respond, and if you haven’t sent me your thoughts yet, please do. Have a great week and Know Your Why! ~Erinn As Michael suggested, here’s the link to the full TED Talk by Simon Sinek, and I encourage you to find time to watch “the whole thing.” It’s pretty inspiring! It’s called “Start with Why” and runs about 18 minutes.
Like all of you, my heart has been aching -- for this family and for every individual and family that has been impacted by this tragedy and other school shootings across the nation.
At the vigil this week, the Governor was interviewed by a local TV crew, and he said something that really hit home for me. He said we need to move beyond the sensationalism of this event – the constant news coverage and social media chatter – to ask the deeper questions of why these things happen and what we can do to prevent them from happening again.
We need to move beyond the sensationalism to get to the deeper issues. Think about that.
What I think about is how our work here at DHS deals with those deeper issues, fundamental issues of health, safety and independence for the people we serve. Our clients and customers come to us for assistance, advice, resources and all types of other supports to help them address the serious issues they face each day – physical, emotional, large and small, but they are all serious. Some are sensational issues, and some are day-to-day challenges.
This week and in the coming weeks and months, we are working with Emilio’s family in Portland. Our staff in Multnomah County has been extraordinary in their caring and expertise. I’ve expressed my appreciation to them, and I wanted to share that appreciation with you all, too.
I don’t believe we’ll ever really make sense of this – or any -- senseless act of violence.
What I am confident we can do is to continue to serve our clients and customers in the best ways we know how, in line with our Core Values and each of our personal commitments to serve. I am proud to work with you in service to Oregon’s children, youth, adults and families.
Make time to hug the ones closest to you.
26, is Memorial Day -- one of our most respected and solemn holidays.
Day, or Decoration Day as it was originally called, was first observed on May
30, 1868 as a day to lay flowers on the graves of Union and Confederate
soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The holiday’s name was later changed
to Memorial Day. In 1971, it became a federal
holiday to be observed on the last Monday in May.
As I do each
year, I encourage everyone to take time to remember and honor the brave men and
women who gave so much to defend the values and freedom that we all cherish. It
is also a day to pay tribute to the dedication and sacrifice of their families
and loved ones, and it is a day to pray for the safe return of those still
serving far away from home.
would like to thank all those DHS staff who have served our country and to
those with family members serving today.
communities have local Memorial Day celebrations planned, and I hope you’ll
take the opportunity to have a great holiday weekend and support these
local events, too.
names will be added to the Afghan-Iraqi Freedom Memorial on the grounds of the
Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs, 700 Summer Street in Salem, Monday
afternoon at 3 p.m. The names of Army Spc. John Pelham of Beaverton, killed in
Afghanistan on Feb. 12 last year, and Pfc. Cody Patterson of Philomath, also
killed in Afghanistan last year on Oct. 6, will be added to the memorial.
Senator Jeff Merkley will speak at the event.
Also see other 2014 Memorial Day Events.
It was about three months ago that I shared our internal and external customer service results with you all, and it’s time for an update. As part of our Quarterly Business Review (QBR) which is the place where as a leadership team in this agency we track outcomes and what we’re doing and how we’re doing it, we’ve continued to include the external and internal set of customer surveys, as well as our own DHS employee engagement survey.
A big focus we all have is looking at what we do and how we get results for people – an important part that if often overlooked is HOW we work with people to get things done. That’s really what I mean by customer service. It's the Golden Rule – treating other people how we want to be treated -- and one of the most important things we can do is to make people feel they’ve been treated with respect. Today, I have good news for everyone. Our customer service and employee engagement survey results are up over last quarter in all areas.
At our QBR last week, here’s what was reported:
So WHAT we do is as important as HOW we do it, and our most recent survey results really show that’s embedded in our actions across the agency. That’s good news and good work! So great job everyone for outstanding customer service and engagement.
In an upcoming message, I want to talk with you all about something I’ve been calling “Know Your Why,” and that’s a funny term for a serious subject – keeping our focus on why we do the work we do. More on that at a later time.
Thanks for all you do – on my survey, I rate you all as Excellent and Engaged!
Last week, the Oregonian newspaper published an editorial about DHS and the recent audit by the Secretary of State’s Office. (Putting the focus back on jobs at Department of Human Services, May 5).
I wanted to share with you all my response to that op-ed, since I think it’s
important to set the record straight. Here’s what was published on the Oregonlive
The Department of Human
Services Excelled During the Recession
Your recent editorial makes the point that the Oregon Department of Human Services should turn the focus back to helping Oregonians on government assistance find jobs. We agree,and we are already making progress. For the first time since 2008, we are placing about 1,000 job seekers per month into employment on a regular basis.That’s a change from the dark days of the recession.
Oregonians should expect a lot from their Human Services agency, and during the nation's worst recession on record, we delivered. With reduced program and service levels, we worked on the front line of the economic crisis, serving more than one million Oregonians each year -- helping them feed their families, get access to health care, pay their bills and keep their children out of foster care.
With demand for services increasing by 80% and not enough staff available to keep up with the increased demand, we created more streamlined, efficient business practices that delivered life-saving benefits to people even faster, going from a nine-day turnaround time to same day service for thousands of Oregonians coming in our doors each month.
With more families in
distress than ever before, DHS (working with other partners in the community) focused on keeping children safe and keeping
families together. But our work didn't just save lives and preserve families,
it provided more than $90 million per month in federal revenue throughout our
state -- helping to keep more private businesses, like grocery stores, health
and child care providers, in operation during tough economic times.
Oregon DHS did what it was created to do during the great recession - we responded and met more people's needs than ever before. While we may not have been able to do everything we wanted to do during those four years of economic crisis, our accomplishments - and those of our partners in this tough work - are something Oregonians should be proud of.
The Oregonian is right about one thing: With the economy turning around, the time is now to dedicate all our energy on helping Oregonians get back to work. And as we do that, we shouldn't settle for just any work - but work that helps families support themselves so that they no longer need government assistance.
Knowing what I know about the people across this state who have dedicated their lives to the most vulnerable among us, I have no doubt that with this opportunity of economic recovery, we will do what we always do: We will rise to the occasion in service to Oregon children and their families.
As the Director, I take my responsibilities very seriously. Two of my most important responsibilities are the protection of vulnerable children, and the protection of the confidential, personal and private information of Oregonians.
Oregon state law and federal laws, passed and signed by elected representatives, set out very clear requirements for the confidentiality of information in child welfare cases -- and other DHS cases, too. The purpose of these laws is to ensure that the highly personal and sensitive information of the individuals involved is released only when parties to the case agree to make their own information public.
There are times when the public has a great desire to know more, and the laws make exceptions in certain circumstances. A good example is the CIRT process – that is, the Critical Incident Response Team process that happens when a child who is known to DHS is seriously injured or killed by abuse or neglect. In those tragic circumstances, Oregon law requires the state to release information about the agency’s actions with the child and family.
Nearly all of the rest of the information we receive and gather is protected – and it should be. We understand the delicate balance between the public's desire to know and the need to protect confidential information, but we follow the laws of this state and nation regarding the protection of the privacy, especially of children who have already been victimized by adults in their lives.
As a state agency, we have incredible power to change lives, and I am committed to using that power with a light touch and with reverence for the privacy of children and families we serve.
Thank you for all you do. Have a great week!
It’s been about six months since we made the decision to slow down the roll-out of Oregon Benefits Online, our web-based system for SNAP benefits. That decision allowed us to concentrate our support on the Fast Track access to the Oregon Health Plan – and assist OHA with the processing of paper applications and other essential tasks to help them at this crucial time. On that note, in case you haven’t already heard, because of the joint OHA/DHS effort through Fast Track enrollment, at least 123,000 more Oregonians now have health insurance. That number continues to grow and is life-changing for those individuals -- and deserves to be acknowledged.
As for Modernization, the point of this message is to give you a sense of where the initiative stands today. Remember, I said in a Director’s Message back in 2012 that “Modernization is about more than technology.” It was true then, and it is even truer today. Modernization is a broad, multi-year effort to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of DHS services in a variety of ways, including activities like:
Let me start this update with the topic of technology, because that’s where we left off with the slow down on our automated benefits application. As you know, Oregon Benefits Online development work was put on hold in September, 2013. That “hold” remains in place as we conduct an internal business evaluation of our options and next steps with regard to the Oracle framework. There’s not much more to say: OBO is temporarily on hold, we’re examining our options to move forward, and will keep you posted on next steps. That being said, in keeping with the legislative direction coming out of the 2013 session, we have begun the planning process for development of a more holistic, online case management system. The core premise for the Case Management Online (CMO) project is to create technology that will enable human services case managers to access information and services across programs for the benefit of customers and clients. DHS is currently planning and defining the scope of the first phase of this project, which will only include APD. This is exciting work with huge potential to improve service coordination, reduce duplication and enhance the customer experience with our systems. Watch for more information in the coming weeks.
This “pause” in the roll-out of new technology has also given us an opportunity to redouble our efforts around service delivery transformation, and I am happy to report that there is some exciting work moving forward on that front. For example, the Electronic Document Management System (EDMS) team is currently analyzing how we handle customer paperwork and evaluating the idea of “paperless offices,” with electronic customer/case records and the potential for improved service, workflow, time and financial savings. Other initiatives from CI sheets or branch office pilot projects are also underway which are also focused on various aspects of service delivery improvement and transformation. These include telecommuting and outstationing, central call center, Skype/Lync remote connections, and case management pilots, just to name a few.
It’s been an incredibly busy six months since we put the brakes on in our Oregon Benefits Online roll-out, but I want to assure you that the our vision for Modernization is still moving forward. That vision translates into the reality of better outcomes for the individuals and families we serve and greater safety, health and independence for the state of Oregon.
Have a great week.
~ Erinn & Trina
I haven’t done one of the Did You Know? messages for a while, but today is a good opportunity to pass one along. Did you know that DHS operates 24-hour residential programs for people who are in crisis and have exhausted all other resources within the state? It’s true – the program used to be known as SOCP (State Operated Community Program), but that old name has changed to better reflect their focus. The new name, Stabilization and Crisis Unit (SACU), supports the goal of serving these individuals through the crisis period and into stabilization so that they can successfully return to an appropriate community placement.
SACU consists of 23 residential homes from Portland to Eugene, with a total capacity of 108, serving 98 adults and 10 children. This includes people with developmental disabilities coming out of the Oregon State Hospital, correctional systems, and from crisis situations where counties and private providers cannot meet the needs of the individual, to ensure their health and safety. This is an ever-changing population displaying more aggressive, complex behaviors with a younger clientele. As you might expect, this can be a challenging population for our staff to serve.
Even though the name has changed, the program has not changed its mission, vision, goals or services. SACU will continue its focus on supporting people in community-based settings and enabling them to return to less intensive service levels as quickly as possible. It is addressing a changing population that involves more behaviorally challenging clients, moving from the medical clients for whom the system was originally created. Those medically fragile clients with I/DD are now mostly served through community-based private providers. SACU will continue to be a safety net for Oregon’s most vulnerable, intensive, medically and behaviorally challenged individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities (I/DD) and to provide support when no other community-based option is available to them.
I recently visited some of the SACU facilities in the Salem area with interim DD Director Trisha Baxter, and I would like to thank the leadership and staff at SACU for their past and ongoing efforts to support the individuals they serve through crisis and stabilization. The opportunity to see this important work close up provides important context for me as we work to improve services today and begin planning for the 2015 budget.
I especially want to recognize the new SACU Director, Jana McLellan, for her work to strengthen supports for clients and SACU staff and managers. This is difficult work, and Jana is a true leader in the efforts. Thank you.
Next week, I will be providing everyone with our annual “Year in Review” recap of progress in all DHS programs and services, so stay tuned for that.
Have a great week everyone.
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