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Government and nonprofit agencies provide essential services to communities, but tight budgets mean they are often asked to do more with less.
That requires finding creative and innovative ways to fulfill their mission. One solution is to collaborate with other organizations that play a role in the lives of those they serve. Capella University associate faculty chair of human services and President of the National Organization of Human Services, Paige Krabill, PsyD, shares her thoughts.
A broader perspective
Traditionally, human services organizations have focused primarily on providing their specialized expertise to targeted populations. But in recent years, some of these organizations have become adept at seeing how they can help their clientele by advocating on their behalf with other service-based organizations.
For example, a human services worker who helps homeless clients learns that one of their clients cannot obtain emergency food stamps. The reason: a government agency requires that recipients have an address to be considered residents of the area served. The human services worker meets with agency representatives and legislators to change the requirement so that her clients, and others in the same situation, can receive food stamps.
Collaboration in the field
Once the shift in focus occurs, other opportunities to help may become apparent. A few examples:
Human services organizations can help bridge the gap of understanding, which can be a tremendous social benefit to communities of all sizes. With well-planned efforts to raise awareness, such as op-ed pieces, press releases, and community organizing, human service groups can elevate the conversation so that all sides have a voice.
The benefit of a multidisciplinary degree
Individuals who work effectively in human services benefit greatly by having an understanding of the functions and objectives of other disciplines. Social and cultural issues, public policy, and community resources all play into human services; a multidisciplinary view can make it easier for human services professionals to “connect the dots” for their clientele.
An online human services degree that offers this multidisciplinary approach to learning can equip students with skills needed to serve as effective leaders and skilled collaborators, working with others in complementary fields to make change in the world.