Letter to the Community

Hamilton County Residents,

 The recession, budget cuts, and exploding caseloads all have had a devastating impact on our community, the people we serve, and our agency. This summer, this volatile combination of events impacted our ability to provide services in the manner you and we have been accustomed. For that, we are truly sorry.

June through September was particularly difficult due to an uncertain and reduced budget, staff losses, and near double the number of interviews needed to be completed for Public Assistance consumers. Despite a tremendously dedicated staff working overtime and constant attempts to improve our system, we fell behind in our work and providing benefits to people. Once the state budget was finalized in August and we could ensure our revenues could be kept in line with our expenditures, we set out on an aggressive path of returning to a service level of which we can be proud.

That path includes setting service goals and implementing a series of operational changes such as:

  •  Hiring 20 new staff dedicated to the determination of eligibility for public assistance benefits. This will reduce the time people wait to be interviewed to determine eligibility.
  • Reallocating nearly 40 other staff members to handle the increase in volume. These individuals are in various levels of training but will soon be part of the team that assists in reducing the time people wait to be interviewed to determine eligibility.
  • Allotting overtime for staff until we have reached our goals.
  • Repositioning internal staff to ensure callers do not wait an unreasonable length of time when calling our general information number, 946-1000. 
  • Ensuring we attempt to contact everyone scheduled for appointments on the day they are scheduled.
  • Implementing a Document Imaging System that will assist with processing work and simplifying the retrieval of verification documents and mail submitted to the agency. We anticipate this will be complete in January 2012.
  • Adding a document drop off box and a multi-function self-serve scanner in our first floor lobby so consumers can scan verification documents, which then will be routed to the appropriate staff.
  • Continuing to ensure mail and verification documents are processed within two business days and routed to the appropriate staff person in a timely manner.

While we still face challenges and ask for your patience as we move forward, we have and will continue to work to return to the service level we all expect.

Sincerely,

Moira Weir

Director

Hamilton County Department of Job & Family Services

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3 Responses

  1. […] our timeliness problems with public assistance applications. If you’ll remember, we wrote this letter to the community in […]

  2. You are right, Lisa. Our Child Support people do a wonderful job. My post focused on some of the more newsworthy things that happened this year — which is why I included Child Support launchign the financial literacy classes. But truly Child Support employees and all those in our other areas do a wonderful job throughout the year in helping the citizens of Hamilton County.

  3. I worked for hamilton county for almost 16 years. I worked my way up the different chains. I took as many classes as I could to be diverse in all aspects of hamilton County. I felt like I accomplished alot when I became the spearhead in child support. Working with the section chiefs especially Dave and Jim helped me learn and become good at what I did. But mostly they believed in me. I went to the state meetings and learned everything I could and helped create the ideas and work in Hamilton County childsupport. I made sure I know all I could about incentives and how they worked and what we could to increase them. Other counties wanted to know what I was doing so they could do it in there county. I looked at child support as all my cases. And managed them big picture , while understand the individul workload. While I agree that times are hard right now and yes Absent parents are not paying do to the economy. But there are other things that can be done to still increase the incentives. I find it interesting that in the “closing” letter of the year child support was not really mentioned. All other parts of Hamilton County was mentioned. Child support should be on everyones mind because it can help all parts of the County. But yet it can possible bring revenue into the county and if the absent parent starts paying then we have less consumers on welfare. I always tried to make sure the job I did looked at the complete picture. I know and understand what Hamilton county workers are up against and the decisions that have to be made on a daily basis. I also think it is sad the way everyone was layed off. In ky they do furlough days so they didn’t have to lay off immediately but it is okay you did what you thought best. But alot of staff members that where experts in their fields where lost in the mix. and of course you will have the people that say well they weren’t doing things right anyway. But I know in my heart we did a good job and if given the chance again we could do a better job. Life takes you on a series of roads and I think you have to go on them and have the experience otherwise it was all for nothing. To those of you who were over looked and layed off and to the workers that are still there may you me strong.

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