Human Services Integration Project - History and Activity
The Human Services Integration Steering Committee was formed in 2006 as a joint initiative of the Ontario Municipal Social Services Association (OMSSA) and the Service Manager Housing Network (SMHN). In April 2008, the committee was expanded to include a new partner, the Social Housing Services Corporation (SHSC).
A First Year of Learning
In its first year, the committee began a research and learning process which was intended to result in a discussion paper that would inform the service integration efforts of CMSMs and DSSABs across Ontario.
This effort quickly became a journey of shared learning during which the committee was confronted with some fundamental challenges: the lack of a shared vocabulary; the need to think systemically; the requirement to become person-centred in service planning and delivery; and—the compelling imperative—the need to evaluate efforts at all stages along the way. The committee knew that if its own efforts at working in an integrated fashion around the table were challenging and that these challenges would be replicated in CMSMs and DSSABs moving along the integration path.
Spring Leadership Seminar 2007: Seeking Feedback and Testing Key Approaches in the Discussion Paper
Key approaches and principles that the paper intended to explore were tested in Spring 2007 at OMSSA’s Spring Leadership Seminar. This conference brought together human service managers from CMSMs and DSSABs across Ontario.
Publication and Launch of “A Guide to Thinking about Human Services Integration”
In September 2007, the committee released A Guide to Thinking about Human Services Integration: Making a Greater Difference for People and Communities. The paper was launched at a major presentation during the Forum on Social Housing and Homelessness for service managers, shelter providers and front-line staff, a conference jointly hosted by OMSSA, SMHN and the Ontario Association of Hostels.
Following the publication of its discussion paper, the committee developed a “next steps” work plan, which is currently driving its work in several critical areas.
A range of training opportunities is in development. The first of these—Human Services Integration 101—was piloted at the OMSSA Fall Training Seminar in 2007, subsequently modified and is now available as an intensive one day on-site workshop.
In the autumn of 2007, following release of its discussion paper, the committee hosted a province-wide conference call as a first step to initiate dialogue with OMSSA members about human services integration. The committee is exploring other ways of establishing a dialogue mechanism, which will permit sustained and continuing dialogue about integration. Once a mechanism has been determined, people will be invited to become participants in this ongoing dialogue.
Members of the committee are active in promoting the project and human services integration more generally through speaking engagements and by ensuring that issues related to integration are being raised in key meetings and at key tables. If you wish to have a speaker for an upcoming event, please contact Jody Orr, the Human Services Integration Project Coordinator, at (905) 772-1084 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CMSMs and DSSABs interested in specific issues related to human services integration, seeking more detailed information or looking for support for their efforts should contact the Human Services Integration Project Coordinator, Jody Orr, at (905) 772-1084 or at email@example.com.
The committee is currently in the process of hosting a demonstration project to test and develop best practices for consultation and coaching to CMSMs and DSSABs. On an interim basis, some facilitation, consultation and coaching support may be available. Contact Jody to discuss this if you feel this could be of assistance to you.
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