Corbett Partners with Counties to Encourage Expanding Human Services Block Grant Program

HARRISBURG – Gov. Tom Corbett yesterday called on legislators to expand the Human Services Block Grant program, which provides flexibility in human services funding to meet local needs.

“Last year I delivered a block grant pilot program for 20 county human services programs, and within the first year we are seeing encouraging results from this more flexible funding stream,” Corbett said. “Because of its success, I am once again urging that we give all counties the opportunity to participate in the block grant program if they choose.”

Block grant funding gives counties the flexibility to allocate and redirect funding where it is needed most. Traditional funding streams mandated how much money was spent on each program, resulting in an inefficient, one-size-fits-all system.

“In the pilot program, participating counties have used flexibility to provide services by shifting dollars from underused areas and making funding decisions based on the needs of the families and individuals who come to the county seeking help,” said Berks County Commissioner Christian Leinbach, president of the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania. “In several cases, pilot counties report their ability to eliminate waiting lists for some services for the first time in a decade.”

Participating counties have also reported that the pilot program has:

  • Increased opportunities for stakeholder input and transparency in the way services are administered;
  • Created team-based, consumer-centered and coordinated care models that address the specific, unique needs of each county;
  • Resulted in new private-public partnerships; and
  • Improved data analysis and operational efficiencies, allowing more program dollars to go to care instead of administrative costs.

“Families and individuals do not exist in a silo and neither should the funding that is designated to support them,” Corbett said. “By expanding the Human Services Block Grant program, we will continue to empower our counties to meet the needs of their citizens.”

“The block grant should be available in any county that wants it, making it possible for our citizens to get the help they need when they need it,” Leinbach added.

Corbett was joined yesterday by Sen. Pat Vance (R-Cumberland), Sen. Scott Hutchinson (R-Venango), Sen. John Eichelberger (R-Fulton), Sen. Kim Ward (R-Westmoreland), Rep. Jerry Knowles (R-Schuylkill), Rep. Matt Baker (R-Tioga) and Rep. Lee James (R-Venango), Rep. Jim Marshall (R-Beaver), Rep. Mike Tobash (R-Schuylkill) and Rep. Brad Roae (R-Crawford) as well as more than 20 county commissioners and local human services staff.

To read more success stories from the participating counties, visit the Department of Public Welfare at www.dpw.state.pa.us and click on the graphic in the “What’s Hot” section of the homepage.

For more information, visit www.pa.gov.

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