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Partners in Protecting the Vulnerable: The National Association of County Human Services Administrators

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The National Association of County Human Services Administrators (NACHSA) members manage a vast array of health and human services programs serving their communities. Ranging from child welfare to income assistance to meeting the challenges of homelessness, NACHSA members work with their elected county boards to target scarce federal, state and county resources to the needs of vulnerable families and individuals.

Over 270 dues-paying NACHSA members hail from 12 states, most of them county-administered. Working closely with NACo, including serving side-by-side with elected county officials on NACo policy committees, NACHSA members often draft NACo policy resolutions and platform language to advance county interests on Capitol Hill.

Using NACo’s policies as guidance, NACHSA members and its Washington-based staff lobby to protect and promote federal programs administered in their counties. Through numerous NACHSA e-Alerts, members receive updates on the latest federal legislative and regulatory developments. This year, NACHSA worked closely with NACo and other advocacy groups to save from proposed termination the Social Services Block Grant used by many counties to address a variety of human needs.

NACHSA’s members continue their individual and collective efforts to be current on the latest scientific findings on poverty’s impact on families and a child’s developing brain. From learning about how to understand and use the Adverse Childhood Experiences model to understanding the lasting impact of trauma and toxic stress on a child when they are removed from an unsafe home, NACHSA members are keenly aware of the importance of evidence-based supports for struggling families.

NACHSA serves as a forum for county human services directors to share best practices and ask other colleagues for ideas to meet unique challenges in their counties. Professional development is advanced through the NACHSA Networker newsletter highlighting efficient and effective program delivery and at the meetings held during NACo conferences. For a number of years, NACHSA has awarded scholarships to enable members to attend an annual county health and human services conference held in California.

As 2018 approaches, NACHSA will work with NACo to help shape federal policy to reform the welfare system. A federal review of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is long overdue. NACHSA will be advocating policies to change the TANF program to focus more on outcomes rather than administrative processes and to target more TANF resources and incentives toward subsidized employment programs.

NACHSA is also planning to launch webcasts linking federal policy-makers and other experts with county directors on human services policies and how to improve agency administration.

 

NACHSA is always interested in recruiting more members and supporting them professionally. To learn more, contact Tom Joseph, NACHSA’s Washington representative at tj@wafed.com

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