Interim studies deal with reorganization of Human Services, county social services

Aug 3, 2017

State department of Human Services director Chris Jones.
Credit DHS

Interim legislative committees are looking at North Dakota’s delivery of human service programs.

One study looks specifically at county social services, and another looks at a potential reorganization of the state Department of Human Services.

"The goal, from my perspective, is not necessarily how we redesign DHS," said department director Chris Jones. "It's how we take a step back and look at how we most effectively and efficiently deliver social services across the state."

Jones said he hopes the studies will clearly articulate how the department and county social service agencies are doing a better job in serving clients.

"Also, how can we share with taxpayers where the dollars are being spent in an effective and efficient way," Jones said. "It should be very clear where the dollars are going, and where they're not going."

Jones said a barrier to this could be a fear of change.

"It's that general sense of, 'I've done a good job for the last 30 years, and I'm doing a good job now -- why do we need to change it,'" Jones said. "In some cases, they may not need to change. But in other cases, we have to look at if the services we're delivering are as effective and efficient as they could be."

Jones said he’s already started some of those efforts internally.

The interim committees will make recommendations to the 2019 Legislature.