News New report, forum lay out North Star initiatives for human services providers

The Providers’ Council recently hosted a forum to discuss the findings in its 2019 report, Health through Human Services, which examines the critical role human services play in driving public health and other health-related outcomes.

Produced in conjunction with the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute and UMass Dartmouth Public Policy Center, it also highlights North Star initiatives that the sector and Commonwealth can aspire to achieve – in turn, ensuring a healthy, productive and diverse human services industry.

“The sector is growing at a pace that we in the forecasting business have a hard time keeping track of,” said co-author Michael Goodman, executive director of the Public Policy Center. “We have consistently underestimated the number of people it takes to meet needs. Many policymakers don’t appreciate fully the work being done. We need to better articulate the correlation between human services and health outcomes” and in return the fiscal impact that has.

Co-author Christina Citino, senior research manager for the Donahue Institute, briefly recapped information from the Council’s previous reports, including more than half of Council members who were surveyed said they can’t employ enough people, and that by 2025, the number of individuals likely available to work falls far short of the need.

“The most important point to make to lawmakers is that if we don’t have enough workers, you don’t get services,” Citino said.

After Goodman and Citino discussed the report, five board members outlined the North Star Initiatives and how their agency is working to meet one of the initiatives. Attendees broke into groups to discuss the initiatives and make suggestions as to what the Council and its members can do to advance the initiatives.

“The five North Star initiatives are intended to disrupt the status quo – that’s the intent. And then get the Legislature to recognize the tenuous situation the human services industry is in,” said Seven Hills Foundation CEO, who chairs the Council’s Research Committee.

The North Star initiatives are:

  1. Commit to livable wages for all human service workers.
  2. Ensure wage parity with state agencies.
  3. Support benefits commensurate with state workers & attract millennials.
  4. Develop strategic partnerships.
  5. Accept accountability for adequate funding.

The new report, Health through Human Services, was recently mailed to all Providers’ Council members. If you have questions, please contact Bill Yelenak at 617.428.3637 x122 or bill@providers.org.

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