York, PA - Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Secretary Teresa Miller, Office of Advocacy and Reform Director Dan Jurman, Child Advocate Nicole Yancy and other officials leading efforts to strengthen Pennsylvania’s child welfare system today met with York County elected officials, leaders and community advocates for a conversation about work being done to protect children, prevent abuse and support Pennsylvania families.
The Department of Human Services (DHS), which supervises Pennsylvania’s county-administered child welfare system, is committed to supporting the child welfare professionals who work to protect children from abuse and neglect, help families to build stable homes and relationships and provide services to children and families in times of need and crisis.
“The success of this system depends on the trust of the community and the strength of relationships with our partners in the education system, the courts, private social services, health care, and among our elected officials,” Secretary Miller said. “When it comes to the trust of our communities and the strength of our relationships, I think we need to do better. That’s why we’re here.”
Secretary Miller and Director Jurman met with York County child welfare professionals, educators, elected officials, youth program directors, health workers, child advocates and representatives from the court system. The roundtable format opened the floor to discussion on creating a trauma-informed state, collaboration, and current and future system improvements and priorities.
Director Jurman, whose Office of Advocacy and Reform was created by Gov. Tom Wolf’s 2019 executive order to protect vulnerable populations, spoke about the influence of adverse childhood experiences and the importance of trauma-informed services for children and families.
“Science is showing us more and more how much trauma and toxic stress affect the lives and potential of our children,” Director Jurman said. “That’s why we’re committed to making sure our policy and practice focus on preventing trauma and providing the right supports for children to heal from it when we can’t prevent it.”
The roundtable was also an opportunity for introductions of several Wolf Administration officials recently appointed to roles dedicated to the protection of Pennsylvania children and families. Nicole Yancy is the state’s new child advocate, joining Dan Jurman in the Office of Advocacy and Reform; Jon Rubin, who previously led Bucks County’s Housing and Human Services division since 2014, joined DHS in November as deputy secretary of the department’s Office of Children, Youth and Families (OCYF). Amy Grippi, former chief of staff for OCYF, has taken on a new DHS role as the department’s Child Services Executive Director, focused on synthesizing initiatives and priorities around child services through a multi-system, public health lens using data and trend analyses and predictive analytics.
“The diversity of perspectives at the table made it possible for us all to get out of our comfort zones and see new opportunities for growth and improvement in Pennsylvania’s child welfare system,” Secretary Miller said. “I’m excited about collaborating directly with local leaders to fix the parts of the system that are broken and strengthen the parts of the system that are working well.”
For more information on the child welfare system in Pennsylvania, visit www.keepkidssafe.pa.gov.
MEDIA CONTACT: Erin James - 717-425-7606
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