Making the Connection in Social Services

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Angela works at a state Department of Social Services which administers social services to over 100 local offices across its state and delivers services and benefits to over a million residents each year. This Department is responsible for administering Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicaid, Adoption, Child Care Assistance, Refugee Resettlement Services, and Child and Adult Protective Services.

Angela is a Regional Director and oversees over 20 local offices. Angela’s goal leaving the institute was to schedule meetings with a Fatherhood Specialist in the Department to pursue the development of a fatherhood program and develop an online resource website for the state’s residents.

Initially, at the Institute, Angela had difficulty connecting her work and the mission and values of her organization with what she was learning. When she returned to the Department, Angela shared information from the Institute with leaders from her over 20 local offices at a standing directors’ meeting. Once she shared this information with her staff, they were able to make the connection together. Most offices thought the information was very relevant and were very eager to learn more. Some of the offices expressed they could use resources like the Level 1 tip sheets at family partnership meetings, where the local offices provide child care and have meetings with families to resolve any outstanding issues.

Schedule meetings with agency staff to pursue a fatherhood initiative and develop an online Resource website.

The connection between healthy marriage and relationship education may not be obvious at first, so taking the time to make the connection together helped Angela and her staff.

“The draft Action Plan is a helpful starting point because it serves as a reminder to integrate.”

While Angela is currently in the process of creating a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with an agency that works with military families, she was able to accomplish the following after attending the Institute:

  • She shared the Resource Center’s toolkit, A Support and Resource Guide for Working with Military Families, with this agency.
  • She shared resources and information with various agencies serving foster families and child support services.
  • She started conversations with a prisoner reentry program focused on fatherhood, yet lost touch with her contact and hopes to reestablish that partnership to continue her journey through the second level of integration.

While Angela has not been able to form formal partnerships, she is working on creating an MOU with an agency that works with military families and connecting with a prisoner reentry program.