Evaluation of Family Preservation and Reunification Programs: Final Report - Volume One. 3.5.1 Restructuring

12/01/2002

In 1998 the Cabinet for Families and Children began a major restructuring. Two Departments, the Department for Social Insurance and the Department for Social Services were combined to form the Department for Community-Based Services. The separate regions of these two Departments were combined into common regions. According to Cabinet Secretary Viola Miller, "Welfare reform, the need for a more community-minded approach to human services, and the demands of our own employees have been the driving forces behind this decision." The goals of the restructuring were to:

  • 1. Improve quality of service to families - less crisis intervention, more prevention/stabilization;
  • 2. More emphasis on positive outcomes for families;
  • 3. Comprehensive service delivery, instead of fragmentation;
  • 4. Community orientation;
  • 5. Let families feel like part of the solution, rather than be lost in rules and red tape;
  • 6. Maximize federal resources;
  • 7. Blend fiscal and human resources, reducing duplication and increasing productivity;
  • 8. Provide a team approach; and
  • 9. Create greater flexibility and autonomy at the local level

The seeds of the restructuring began in 1996 with the EMPOWER Kentucky initiative. The goal of the initiative was to save taxpayer money, improve the efficiency of services, and better equip state employees with the tools they need to perform their jobs. With the advent of welfare reform it was felt that the Department for Social Insurance had to expand its operations from merely getting benefits out in a timely and efficient manner. There had to be programs in place to help recipients get back to work. The state believed that the best way to accomplish this was to collaborate with the community and other agencies. The Cabinet also wanted to use a community-oriented approach to more effectively fight child abuse by building partnerships with churches, neighborhood groups, and other individuals and groups using preventive techniques. It was intended that increased decision making authority be given to the regions, with the central office in Frankfort providing training, technology, and technical assistance.

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