HHS Strategic Plan, Fiscal Years 2007–2012 (Strategic Plan). Meeting External Challenges

11/22/2015

Within the human service goal, changes in economic conditions, specifically downturns, have been shown to be the most influential external factor influencing how successful HHS’s strategies are in accomplishing its stated objectives.

Historically, when negative economic conditions occur, welfare recipients, low-income people, and persons with disabilities are more vulnerable to unemployment; and fewer local resources and safety nets exist for these populations. Decreases in State and local revenue could result in a reduction in funding for home and community-based placements for individuals with disabilities. Family stress is greater as economic situations deteriorate, leading to increased potential for violence and family breakup. Noncustodial parents may lose jobs or income resulting in fluctuations in income support ability.

To mitigate these effects, HHS works at the State level to enhance States’ capacity to coordinate a broad range of services, conducts research, provides technical assistance, and identifies best practices that focus on elimination of barriers for the hard-to-employ and cost-effective service delivery. Additionally, HHS can assist community action agencies, community development corporations, and other community groups in leveraging Federal, State, local, and philanthropic resources to strengthen neighborhoods; build social capital by developing community leadership and strengthening community-based organizations; and support asset development projects for residents of distressed communities. On the individual level, HHS provides information and support for consumers and their caregivers and ensures individuals and families are connected to safety net programs for which they are eligible through outreach and referral. HHS also provides support for child care services, working to connect families with the most appropriate child care setting (also called parental choice) and helping families moving into work to remain connected to other safety net programs for which they are eligible. Child support enforcement activities can also be coordinated with opportunities for job training and supported work activities.

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