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Maintaining Human Services


            Today’s safety net cuts poverty nearly in half. When families fall on tough times due to job loss, unexpected medical costs or other challenges, programs such as unemployment insurance, Medicaid, child care assistance, supplemental nutritional assistance, and housing keep families on their feet. Beyond reducing poverty, research shows how the safety net generates long-term positive educational and health outcomes for children and families; and


            AFSCME’s human service members bring specialized training and years of experience to these programs, whether they are determining eligibility for social insurance and temporary assistance, or directly providing services including child care or home care for the elderly and persons with disabilities, or processing unemployment claims; and 


            The explosion of technology in health and human services is playing an increasing role in the delivery of human services. While the application of information technology holds much promise for the coordination of services, we must view its use with a critical eye to avoid unintended consequences that harm individuals in need of services and the workers who provide those services. Many assessments and determinations performed in person will not be possible electronically due to the complexities of family situations, lack of access to documentation materials and consumer unfamiliarity with terms surrounding questions of eligibility and enrollment. Health and human services jobs require intuitive, experienced-based decision-making for complex problems; and


            Automation, fast-tracking, streamlining, and other efficiency measures that limit or do away with personal contact with public eligibility determination staff has resulted in numerous cases of families and workers losing or being denied vital services; and



            Because of their commitment to quality, professional standards, and helping people access programs when in need, human services employees should always be at the table to make decisions about the public delivery system and reforming the work environment or business processes; and


            Unions exist to amplify the voices of workers.


            AFSCME shall support legislative and administrative strategies designed to promote and improve access to public benefits by ensuring the personal contact, care and casework needed to help this population and maintain the integrity of these vital services with adequate staffing levels; and


            That AFSCME will advocate that the voices of front line human service workers be central in efforts to develop solutions to improve public delivery of human services; and


            AFSCME will fight efforts that eliminate or outsource portions of the human services public delivery system.


John Lyall, President and Delegate
Terri Robinson, Recording Secretary
AFSCME Council 8

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