Illuminating Our Way Forward: 2020 Action Plan

By Tracy Wareing Evans    March 9, 2020

As a membership organization committed first and foremost to people and public service, we continue to work in concert with our networks to achieve our shared vision for thriving communities built on human potential. Entering a presidential election cycle and year three of our Strategic Playbook, we convened a group of leaders from across our membership to develop an action plan specific to 2020. We also took a closer look at what’s at the forefront of our work and ripe for action both in policy and practice extending beyond the calendar year to include the next 15 months.

We are currently focused on three overall bodies of work while also being intentional about applying a race equity lens to everything we do in order to truly advance well-being for ALL people.

Our first focus area is MOVING HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES UPSTREAM. This means supporting child and family well-being from the outset and preventing issues before they occur. With a very intentional focus on prevention and early intervention, and by leveraging policy opportunities that are in front of us such as Family First implementation, we can begin to make system-level shifts “upstream” that prevent child maltreatment and support better overall population health and well-being. With increasing recognition of the connection between child well-being and adult health outcomes, we continue to advance policy and practice solutions that promote investments in integrated health and human service delivery systems that advance housing, health, workforce, and communities that build thriving families.

We are also focused on ADVANCING SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC MOBILITY. This means ensuring that we build on family strengths for long-term success—not just short-term stability—while simultaneously removing structural barriers that get in the way. Although the field is still trying to understand how we can truly achieve greater social and economic mobility for all people, we know that an emphasis on investing in the workforce as parents and caregivers, mitigating the Cliff Effect, and working across sectors is a good place to start. Rooted in our commitment to fostering outcomes we all desire, we are leveraging the voices of our collective membership in partnership with a broad coalition of peer associations to shift the narrative and build capacity for modernization and reform of TANF that will help state and local agencies invest in services that build a foundation for economic mobility.

Our third focus area for 2020 is on BUILDING FIELD CAPACITY. This means strengthening our collective ability to get at root causes and generate healthy ecosystems by:

  • Advancing efforts to improve the well-being of the H/HS workforce;
  • Leveraging data insights as agencies enhance interoperability of IT systems and apply advanced analytics;
  • Building a culture of evidence and learning within agencies to continuously innovate and improve impact;
  • Fostering partnerships across sectors and systems and opportunities to co-create solutions together (we refer to this as generative leadership); and
  • Advancing a productive national narrative that emphasizes and helps build common ground.

We are also focused on building field capacity around crisis and disaster planning and response.

With these three focus areas—moving upstream, advancing social and economic mobility, and building field capacity – in our direct line of sight, we can achieve meaningful, systems-level change. Consistent with the Playbook, over the course of this year, we will take action on ripe opportunities at the national level, continue to elevate what’s already working in communities across the country, and develop materials to advance our members’ solutions.

We look forward to partnering with you along the way!

About the Author

Tracy Wareing Evans (full bio)

President and CEO
American Public Human Services Association

Illuminating Our Way Forward: 2020 Action Plan

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