The Pathways Initiative

Pathways is an initiative of the members of the American Public Human Services Association (APHSA) to transform how health and human services are administered and delivered. Public human services are moving in new directions – down new pathways – to meet increased demand for assistance at a time of tight budgets and heightened public expectations for effective outcomes. 

The Outcomes 
Implementation of Pathways requires changing health and human service programs and funding streams so that they become integrated, outcomes-focused, and centered on supporting people to achieve sustainable, meaningful changes in their lives rather than complying with bureaucratic outputs. 

At the center of Pathways are four major outcomes: 

  1. Achieving Gainful Employment and Independence; – Providing the opportunities and supports that will help low-income individuals get a job, keep a job, and start down a sustainable career path.
  2. Stronger Families, Adults, and Communities; – Providing the opportunities and supports that will enable individuals, families, and communities to be strong and self-supportive.
  3. Healthier Families, Adults, and Communities; and – Helping control long-term health care costs, facilitating a balanced continuum of care that begins with prevention, providing opportunities for essential health services, and linking health and human services to support "no wrong door" access.
  4. Sustained Well-being of Children and Youth – Supporting a safe and stable future for children, youth, and their families through preventive services, early intervention, interdisciplinary permanency initiatives, and integrated use of other child-serving programs.

Pathways Policy Briefs
Pathways policy briefs outline policy recommendations and priorities for current human service programs based on how they can lead toward the Pathways outcome goals. Policy Briefs of particular interest to the NASTA membership include the following: 

Goal: Achieving Gainful Employment and Independence 

  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Policy Brief

    To support states' current work engagement strategies and move clients into stable employment quickly and efficiently, TANF reauthorization must address the following key areas: 
    • Effective and sustainable outcomes — Clearly stated, jobs-centered goals in state plans must become the basis for measuring a state's effectiveness.
    • Strategies and initiatives that reflect each state's economic climate — States must be able to employ all useful work engagement tools and strategies in the combination that best suits their needs, adapting them to changing economic conditions and the availability of jobs within a state and region.
    • Supporting actual work — The current focus on "work participation" must be replaced by the goal of "participation in work," giving states credit for moving clients toward employment and placing clients in meaningful jobs.
    • Comprehensive inclusion of other systems and factors — Current TANF requirements must be broadened to allow greater use of education and other effective strategies to ensure employment success.
    • Effective administration across systems — TANF program flexibility must be increased to support the pooled use of funds, shared-governance agreements, consistently defined and shared data, and aligned eligibility processes across programs.

Goal: Stronger Families, Adults, and Communities 

  • Social Services Block Grant Policy Brief 

    Over the years, SSBG has become increasingly important as a means of "gluing" programs together and helping community-based providers cover operating expenses necessary to conduct larger programmatic functions. 

    Absent more far-reaching reforms, the current flexibility and funding for SSBG should be maintained. Action should be taken on broader funding reforms that would provide states with greater ability to blend and braid funding streams and ensure the most effective use of all resources. 

For more information on Pathways ...