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August 13, 2012: DHS Town Hall Meeting Recap

Hello DHS,

Last week, we hosted Town Hall meetings in Bend, Eugene, Medford and Portland and a statewide webinar for those who were unable to attend one of the other meetings in person. In last week’s message I outlined the initiatives we would be presenting, and I explained that our goal was to provide a chance for stakeholders and partners to hear from us in person -- and for us to hear from them -- about where the agency is today and where we are going in the future. We had good discussions at each of the Town Hall meetings, and one very clear message came through: We are on the right track.

Community members urged us to continue working with a primary focus on the results we are getting for people, rather than thinking about particular DHS programs. There was also rich discussion in every community about the importance of collaboration with our partners to get those results. We talked about everything from making more time to build stronger relationships with partners to accountability for results and data tracking. The discussions were all framed by the perspective that our clients are better served when we all work together. Another consistent message we heard was the request for more detail in each focus area, which we will be providing in the coming months. The meetings were valuable and provided solid confirmation of our strategic direction and support for our focus on the four priorities areas and the initiatives in each area below:

In Economy and Jobs, we are putting our efforts and focus on improved employment outcomes for our clients in TANF, Vocational Rehabilitation and Developmental Disability Services that support family stability and independence. This effort is also looking at opportunities to improve TANF outcomes with limited resources.

In Healthy People, we are looking at three initiatives. The first is called LTC 3.0, and it includes modernizing and improving Oregon's system to emphasize prevention, innovation and sustainability. The goal is to ensure that Oregon seniors and people with disabilities get the right services - at the right time - at the right place. The second initiative is about Oregon's Developmental Disabilities system and is focusing on strategies to improve the quality of life in communities for Oregonians with I/DD and ensure a sustainable system for the long term. The third initiative is Modernization. That means modernized service delivery, modernized technology and better service that will result in more meaningful time for clients with their case managers to help them along their journey to self-sufficiency and independence.

Safety is one of our primary goals, and there are two very important initiatives here. The first is the ongoing safe and equitable foster care reduction work, but what's new to this initiative is the planning and implementation of Differential Response, which will reduce foster care entry, continue our emphasis on relative placements and strengthen local, community-based interventions on behalf of families that have experienced abuse and neglect. The other important initiative is in the areas of adult protective services and licensing and regulatory oversight, which includes an aggressive plan to close gaps in protection services to seniors and adults with disabilities, including developmental disabilities.

In Education our focus is on the Employment Related Day Care program because it supports family stability and independence by ensuring that adults can find and maintain employment while securing quality day care for their children. Expanding that focus through the Governor's Early Learning agenda, ERDC is working to add school readiness for children as an outcome focus.

This is an exciting and challenging time for us at DHS, and we have plenty of work ahead of us to accomplish the goals above. Our success depends on your continued commitment to our clients, their families and our communities across the state. I want to once again express my thanks to each of you for the work you do.

Have a great week and enjoy the sunshine.

~Erinn

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