Ep. 2 - Kathy Markeland: Demystifying social services: Pathways beyond healthcare that lead to sustainable well-being for all
As the social services sector fights to provide equitable support across demographics, its leaders must question how the current systems create disparities in different regions and communities. The industry also faces a perception concern, where many view social services like a charity instead of a fully functioning workforce designed to empower people and lead them to successful futures. Through targeted investments and partnerships, particularly within healthcare, government and the sector as a whole, more doors and funds can be opened to both appropriately compensation its employees and deliver comprehensive and sustainable services needed to truly empower vulnerable populations to thrive.
LSS President and CEO Héctor Colón speaks with Kathy Markeland, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Association of Family & Children’s Agencies (WAFCA). Kathy shares her expertise and insight into how WAFCA and its members are “Wisconsinizing” the report, A National Imperative: Joining Forces to Strengthen Human Services in America. Kathy and Héctor also discuss the social services’ perception problem. That many view the sector as a one-dimensional charity and do not see it as the missing piece to whole person care that empowers health and wellness.
7:24 – It is center to our mission in charge within the human services sector: To be questioning how our systems can be better formed to provide for more equity in the ability for people to move forward and actually realize their full human potential, which is really, ultimately what we hope for our families and the individuals we serve.” (7:46)
9:46 – We all will be touched by the need of human services. At some point in our life we are going to intersect with that ecosystem of services. And that it’s not about who needs and who doesn’t need, it’s about that we all have need and ultimately we’ll all tap into a human services…point.” (10:06)
13:28 – That perception that we are simply charity or somehow only charitable entities, and not recognizing that fundamental value of social services as a core component of delivering what we need for our communities.” (13:44)
16:03 – At the core, when you think about some of the fundamental services that we provide, whether they be in the community or in foster care, these are not things that are optional. These are things that we as a community have stepped up to say we need to provide for this.” (16:18)
18:02 – So we found ourselves sort of at a difficult point where you also are left with some disparities around what can be done in various regions of the state. Some places do have more prevention services than others. I think that that inequity and disparities is another piece that, because of the design of our systems that really is stark in Wisconsin. (18:24)
25:36 – One of the messages that I hear from our members is they are looking for ways to be better partners with the healthcare system, to be able to be part of an integrated package of services. And that we have specialty to bring to that work that we would really like to see recognized in partnership with them more.” (25:44)
27:21 – We have to double invest. We need to put some investment in prevention in order for us to realize that win – that return on investment in the long run. I think putting some additional dollars towards that. Recognizing and paying our workforce in a way that helps us sustain and grow and really further professionalize some of our areas, particularly in the direct care workforce, would be huge for in the state. (27:47)
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