Hamilton County Job and Family Services was awarded two 2014 achievement awards from the National Association of Counties for innovative programs that contribute to and enhance county government.
The association recognized nearly 500 programs nationwide, but only seven in Ohio: the two in Hamilton County, two in Summit County, one in Montgomery County, one in Franklin County and one in Fairfield County.
“We are extremely excited to be recognized for our innovative efforts and I am proud of the staff who led and executed these projects,” said Moira Weir, director of JFS. “This is a testament to our dedication to continuously find new ways to help the citizens of Hamilton County to a better place in life.”
The agency was recognized for its:
- “Do Ask, Do Tell” campaign: (Civics Education and Public Information category) The campaign was implemented because agency leaders noticed incidents of abuse showing up in the news, but not being reported to Job and Family Services by the mandated reporters encountering the children. That prompted a campaign of videos, PSAs, a website, brochures and letters – all telling people that if they see something they think might be child abuse, they need to call the agency’s hotline, 241-KIDS. County Commissioners sent DVDs to schools and police departments, asking them to share the information with their employees. For more, see http://www.doaskdotellus.com/.
- Public Assistance Recertification Call-In Model: (Human Services category) Hamilton County Job and Family Services had been operating a “Call-Out” model to complete recertification interviews for public assistance. This model relied on the consumer reporting address and phone number changes to ensure contact was made when their case was due for review. For the call-out model, if employees could not make contact after two phone attempts, the public assistance benefits expired. The previous model resulted in a lot of duplicate work, with cases churning on and off public assistance. With a goal of improving customer service and eliminating any breaks in receiving public assistance, Hamilton County designed a “Call-In” model. Consumers are mailed a recertification packet that includes a call-in appointment for a specific date and time. The packet includes all the required forms, with instructions to return the packet before the scheduled interview. The call is received by a gatekeeper who confirms the appointment and transfers the call to an interviewing queue. Eligibility Technicians logged into the system receive the next call to conduct the interview.
“The ‘call-in’ model has been a great success that allows our staff to work quicker and has led to increased satisfaction from our consumers,” Weir said. “The ‘Do, Ask, Do Tell’ campaign helped increase awareness among a very important group when it comes to reporting abuse and neglect — mandated reporters.
“Both initiatives were successful because they were carried out by staff committed to the mission of JFS: providing services today so Hamilton County residents can have a better tomorrow.”