Sussex County has recently completed the 2008 County-wide Human Services Needs Assessment. This project is a collaborative process and partnership between the community and government whereby multiple focus groups involving professionals, consumers and citizens integrate an extensive collection and analysis of comprehensive county-wide data. The objective is to assess and identify the human service needs of the people who reside in our County. A County-wide Human Services Needs Assessment is conducted every 3-5 years with specific importance and prioritization given to specialized populations such as: individuals with disabilities, families at risk, low-income, medically needy & homeless, aging out youth, senior citizens, single parents, families of the developmentally disabled and individuals with mental health needs.
The first County-wide Human Services Needs Assessment was completed in 2003. Since then great strides have been made with various structural and process improvements within the Department of Human Services related to coordinating, monitoring and evaluating human services throughout the community. This 2008 County-wide Needs Assessment will be utilized for years to come in the planning, reviewing and prioritizing of funding for comprehensive Human Service programs in Sussex County. In order to demonstrate the ability of the Human Services Needs Assessment and its collaborative overall process to produce results, several successful key initiatives have been implemented, for example: increased county funding to begin to fill identified gaps in needed services; improved coordination of mental health services to maximize resources; homeless prevention and programs including Manna House outreach, Point in Time Survey & Project Homeless Connect; consolidation of the County Para Transit Division with the Department of Human Services to enhance access to transportation, especially, for specialized populations such as individuals with disabilities and senior citizens; and the establishment of an enhanced decision-making process for community funding through Requests for Proposal and monitoring of service funding.
The Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Department of Human Services has every confidence that the 2008 County-wide Needs Assessments will yield significant results in identifying and prioritizing the human service needs of its citizens. The one objective unchanged since the onset of the Needs Assessment process is to ensure that those in need residing in our community are provided human services in a dignified, professional and comprehensive fashion.