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The framework provides a planning process to coordinate efforts with state and community partners to address the complex issues related to poverty in Louisiana. Through the planning process, DSS will define strategies, determine the appropriate mix of interventions, enlist the assistance of technical experts and build multi-agency and program connections.
"Our intention is for this report to begin discussion among all agencies with a stake in reducing the rate of poverty in our state about the best way to use available resources to provide opportunities for families and individuals to achieve long-term self-sufficiency," said DSS Secretary Kristy Nichols. "Our vision at DSS is that Louisiana families, children and individuals are safe, thriving and self-sufficient. This report is a starting point in realizing this vision, and we hope that with feedback from our partners and stakeholders, we will be able to make strategic investments with measurable outcomes that will create real change for our clients."
Because strategies for self-sufficiency are complex and interconnected, DSS proposes that state and community agencies connect and coordinate services to maximize the agency's return on investment.
"As outlined in the report, our intention is to ensure that the investments DSS makes to address this pressing and prevalent issue are smart and strategic and that they fall within our expertise and scope of services. Where needed prevention strategies and interventions fall within the expertise of our partner agencies, it is critical that we plan for and coordinate our work to make the most of the resources we have available. With this approach, we have the potential to achieve the highest return on our investments to promote self-sufficiency and create real opportunity for success for Louisiana residents," Nichols said.
In its framework, DSS outlines the core principles that will guide the agency's strategies. The agency's approach will focus on measurable outcomes and will align services with best practices to promote self-sufficiency. DSS also will partner with other state agencies and community organizations to leverage appropriate resources to meet the agency's goals.
"In order to be strategic in our approach to helping our clients become self-sufficient and reducing poverty, we must define and work toward stringent outcomes for each investment we make. We also must be disciplined and fund programs based on results and performance," Nichols said.
DSS will focus on the well-being of children through child safety and child development strategies as well as promoting self-sufficiency for individuals and families through stabilization, workforce development, and strategies to build independence. Such activities could include crisis intervention, household and intensive supports, job readiness and placement, asset building, career advancement and financial literacy.
Nichols said that by identifying what works and building on it, DSS will re-align its current investments including, but not limited to, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families to ensure that the agency invests in high impact initiatives that target core strategies.
In the coming months, Nichols and other DSS officials will present the report to stakeholders around the state to facilitate the planning process.
The report "Promoting Self-Sufficiency" is available on DSS' Web site.