By Deputy Assistant Secretary for Children, Youth and Families Kathy Betts
Throughout the tenure of the Patrick-Murray Administration, we have heard consistently from Commonwealth residents across the state that the needs of children, youth and families receiving services from state agencies could be better coordinated. The Administration has always been, and remains, deeply committed to ensuring that families who need it receive the support required to ensure the health, well-being and growth of children in safe communities.
We have heard from a diverse range of stakeholders – including families we serve, staff at our agencies, and advocates – about the need for a more integrated and coordinated system of services that strengthens families. The consensus is that state agencies and their community partners need to further develop a respectful approach that is holistic and responsive to each family's unique needs while remaining strengths-based, community-focused, and committed to healthy development of the children and families involved.
The Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) has continued to think carefully about the evolving needs of families and how effective we are in serving those needs. The challenges families face are varied and complex, and our agencies and partners help make a positive difference in the lives of the families and children we serve.
We’ve learned a lot from the feedback families have provided. From ongoing discussions, we know that Massachusetts families value our services and programs. We also know that there are opportunities for improvement, particularly in the way we engage and support families, as well as how families engage and utilize our services and programs. We have heard the need for family-centric model that serves the whole child and family in a well-coordinated and effective manner, ensuring that the right support is offered to families at the right time.
With our legislative partners, EOHHS has formed a Children, Youth and Families Advisory Committee to help us develop a plan for strengthening services. We will be looking at what other states have done to improve service delivery and will hold stakeholder forums to hear suggestions for improvements.
The Patrick-Murray Administration wants to hear from you. If you have ideas and suggestions about how we can improve services for children, youth and their families, or want to share your personal experience with us, we invite you to attend the next in our series of public meetings, which will be held in Boston on November 28. If you cannot attend but would like to send feedback, write to us at: ChildrensProposal@state.ma.us
For more information visit the EOHHS Children Youth and Families web page www.mass.gov/hhs/childservices. Following are details about the next public forum:
Monday, November 28
5:00 pm – 6:30 pm
The Home for Little Wanderers
271 Huntington Ave.