Policy & Practice February 2018
our do’ers profile
In Our Do’ers Profile, we highlight some of the hardworking and talented individuals in public human services. This issue features Katie Griego, Employment and Benefits Division Director, Colorado Department of Human Services.
Name: Katie Griego Title: Employment and Benefits Division Director, Office of Economic Security, Colorado Department of Human Services Years of Service: 12 Rewards of the Job: Seeing firsthand the implementation of col- laborative, innovative change and its positive impact on an individual or family receiving services in Colorado. Accomplishments Most Proud Of: I ammost proud of redesigning the service delivery model and the way families experi- ence the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program in Colorado by making it easier for both workers and customers. By engaging partners in a new way of doing business together—meaningful, positive, and lasting changes were implemented. This approach led to a stronger feeling of being on the same team, striving together to find what works best in serving Colorado’s families. It was also foundational to future implementa- tion of program change. Changes related to the TANF redesign included shifting the culture from a contractual relationship with clients to a coaching model that supports individuals and families in reaching their goals, in par- ticular, employment goals. Customers report that they feel supported by their coach in this newmodel. In addition, Colorado simplified program requirements such as reporting and
verification standards, eliminated unnecessary burdens such as asset tests, introduced two-generation approaches to serve the whole family, ensure assistance is provided in a timely manner and accurately, and has recognized ways to be more responsive to our federal partners by meeting the work participation rate while still supporting customers in reaching employment outcomes. All of these efforts result in a workforce having more time to spend with families in supporting them as they reach their goals rather than working on burden- some processes. We are not finished yet in Colorado; we are still working on it. Future Challenges for the Delivery of Public Human Services: Recently, a stranger asked me what I did for a living, and trying to avoid a lengthy, sometimes politically charged conversation, my brief response was, “I work in the human services field.” As I reflected on what future chal- lenges we have, this experience seemed to resonate with me. I believe our greatest challenge is simply to make relevant the services we provide for the people we serve. This is not an easy task. This challenge takes con- tinuous collaborative efforts through a strong public human services network to move beyond services (programs) as we’ve always known and implemented them, to more holistically serve the family or individual. As I reflect on the challenge of creating relevant services, my experience in tackling a range of challenges came to mind. Some of this included strategy and intentionality in
several aspects of our problem solving or forward thinking efforts: � Partnerships —Through strong
partnerships work to integrate programs and services that com- plement each other and reduce duplicative efforts;
� Financial Decisions —Make inten- tional decisions with dollars to support the outcomes we are trying to achieve; � Federal Program Flexibility — Rather than say “can’t,” ask how we can. Leverage federal flexibility in programs to design relevant services. One way to accomplish this is by understanding what federal requirement(s) drive a particular practice or behavior, especially if it does not align with the outcomes we are trying to achieve and seek to find creative solutions; � Use Data —Use data to inform deci- sions and drive results— http:// govinnovator.com/c-stat/; � Invest in the Human Services Workforce —Strengthen human services professionals through training and professional develop- ment. A healthy workforce will lead to individuals and families experiencing services that achieve outcomes; � Customers’ Voice —Simply, do it with them, not to them or for them. Little Known Facts About Me: I am a season ticket holder and diehard fan of the Denver Broncos. Outside Interests: Watching my son Teeg play baseball, basketball, and football. Gardening and cooking with my husband Rick.
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