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Human Services Needs Assessments
Release Date: February 24, 2015

The Sussex County Department of Human Services Is Implementing Needs Assessments to Identify Human Service Needs

(Newton, NJ) The mission of the Sussex County Department of Human Services is "To improve the quality of life of Sussex County residents through an integrated approach to comprehensive services that meets the needs of individuals, families and communities." Committed to its mission, the Department of Human Services will begin the process of implementing the 2015 Senior Services Needs Assessment and the County-Wide Human Services Needs Assessment for the purpose of identifying the current human service needs of Sussex County residents.

"It is critical to identify citizen need throughout the continuum of care and services"

"It is critical to identify citizen need throughout the continuum of care and services," said Stephen Gruchacz, Administrator for the Sussex County Department of Human Services. "Through this assessment process, in collaboration with community partners, we will reach out to consumers, stakeholders and the general public to receive input about community service needs. We will look at secondary data, input from focus groups and evaluate surveys from interested parties. The information will be used to identify the top needs throughout Sussex County from a human service perspective. All of the collected data will be vetted through our volunteer advisory boards, and recommendations will be provided to the Board of Chosen Freeholders. The final report should be complete by August 2015 and the data used to determine funding priorities and support for grant requests."

The Division of Senior Services conducts a needs assessment every three years to assist in the development of an Area Plan for seniors aged 60+ who reside in the County. The Area Plan approved by the NJ State Department of Human Services, Division of Aging Services, identifies and incorporates current senior citizen needs and trends along with the programs and services that will be funded to address them. The plan is updated for the interim years. Examples of currently funded services include: information and assistance, transportation, legal services, home health services, care management, congregate nutrition programs and home delivered meals. An important component of the needs assessment is a survey of Sussex County residents ages 60 and older. The Needs Assessment Survey will be available at various seniors clubs, senior housing sites and service provider agencies, as well as the Division of Senior Services office. The survey may also be downloaded from the Senior Services web-site www.sussex.nj.us/seniorservices.

The County-Wide Human Services Needs Assessment process will begin by collecting and including comprehensive, reliable data extracted from objective sources such as the U.S. Census, NJ Department of Education, NJ Department of Health, Uniform Crime Reports, NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Social Security Administration and the New Jersey Center for Health Statistics.

A survey will then be created and distributed for the community's input as to their current needs in such areas as transportation, affordable housing, childcare and employment at a living wage, among others. Another component in the development of the needs assessment will be the facilitation of focus groups for specific target populations including individuals with mental illness, the elderly, single parents, families, and aging out youth, in addition to many others.

Lastly, a strategic planning session will be held with local human service providers to review the data, identify priority areas of need and create recommendations for action. Focus group outcomes, Sussex County profile data and results from the Human Services Needs Survey will be presented to the group. At the conclusion of the analysis, the local human service providers will utilize the data presented to prioritize the areas of service to be recommended for expanded investment in Sussex County.

If you need additional information about the 2015 Senior Services Needs Assessment or the County-Wide Human Services Needs Assessment, please contact the Sussex County Department of Human Services at 973-579-0559 ext. 1227 or email us at humanservices@sussex.nj.us.

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