Aug 18, 2014

Editorial: Streamlining delivery of human services is critical for Ohio's poor. So is providing adaquate resources

An editorial from the Cleveland Plain Dealer states that Ohio's range of welfare programs resembles a row of silos. Each caches valuable services. But each stands alone. Both for welfare clients and Ohio's budget managers, that kind of architecture guarantees problems.

Now, an Ohio Office of Human Services Innovation, recently created by the General Assembly and backed by Gov. John Kasich, will aim to "break down [those] silos" to coordinate service delivery. ...

The legislature told the Human Services Innovation office to recommend by Jan. 1 how to better coordinate human services and achieve "standardizing and automating" eligibility screening. ...

As legislators debated the Innovation office, Athens County's Jack Frech, a veteran, respected county Jobs and Family Services administrator, testified that the goals given the Innovation office "are admirable," but that legislators should add one: "[Assuring] that the basic human needs are met for all Ohioans."

Legislators, to no one's surprise, didn't put that on the Innovation office's must-do list. But Frech's point is crucial: Smoothing service delivery is important, but having adequate services to deliver is, in the larger scheme of things, equally — arguably, more — critical.

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