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Health and Family Services Cabinet
Cabinet’s realignment plan strengthens front lines of human services agency

Press Release Date:  Monday, July 17, 2006  
Contact Information:  Anya Armes Weber, (502) 564-6180 or Vikki Franklin, (502) 564-7042  

FRANKFORT, Ky. (July 17, 2006) – The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services today announced a regional realignment plan for its human services department.

Department for Community Based Services (DCBS) Commissioner Tom Emberton Jr. said the goal of the plan is to strengthen the delivery of services by increasing the number of frontline staff and ensuring supervisors are accessible and available for staff.   

“We are enhancing our processes, upgrading our technology and making better use of our human resources to improve client services,” Emberton said.

Transition has already begun for the plan, which becomes official Sept.16. It redistributes statewide staffing to more equitable levels and meets many of the needs of staff identified by social workers in the field.

“This realignment plan is a critical piece of the modernization picture, much like we have accomplished with our comprehensive health reforms,” said CHFS Secretary Mark D. Birdwhistell. “The plan brings us closer to our goal of providing our staff the support they need and making our service more accessible to our clients.”

About 100 workers, who will interact directly with clients, will be added to the department’s front lines, Emberton said. Sixty of those will be new positions, and about 40 will be staff moving from regional offices. Whenever possible, normal attrition will be used to open spaces for placing field staff.

The shift also restructures the department’s management system and combines 16 regions into nine. Most neighboring regions will join. But because of its size and uniqueness, Emberton said, Jefferson County needed to remain its own region.

That was one of the ideas staff brought to the planning process, Emberton said.

“We listened to staff and supervisors and used their feedback as we shaped this plan,” he said.

Staff workgroups in each region composed of staff at all levels made recommendations on the plan, and staff could submit comments or get answers to questions on an internal Web site. 

Staff overwhelmingly supported more training options, and they will get more opportunities to learn about safety, substance abuse awareness and supervisory issues.

The regional shift is just one part of DCBS’ overall modernization plan. Over the next year, other initiatives will include upgrading technology for field staff and simplifying documentation processes for protective services workers. DCBS is also evaluating changes in how it works with families and local advocacy groups. More funding and staff attention will go toward preventive care, particularly in the area of substance abuse.

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Last Updated 7/17/2006