October 2015 Human Services Chairs Meeting


New Orleans street view NCSL is the only organization to bring together chairs from across the country for a learning experience that meets legislators unique needs as committee chairs. This inaugural gathering of Human Services Chairs will focus on the following main topics: state policies to target assistance to those most in need, multi-generation strategies to reduce poverty and break the cycle of intergenerational poverty, budgeting and fiscal policies, hunger and nutrition and effective programs and performance metrics. 

Through this meeting attendees will gain a better understanding of new innovations in human services policy and financing, increase knowledge of strategies to address poverty and improve outcomes for children and families, build a network of peers who are working on similar issues and share learning across states, create a personal plan for action to address human services policy issues.

Go back to the Human Services Homepage. 

Time Sessions
7:30-8:30 a.m. Breakfast and Registration
Renaissance New Orleans Pere Marquette Hotel
8:30-9 a.m. Welcome and Introductions
  • Representative Jim Dunnigan (R), Utah
  • Representative Walter Leger III (D), Louisiana 
9-10:30 a.m.

Opening Plenary

10 Years after Katrina: How Business and Civic Leaders Transformed a New Orleans Neighborhood
Hear how the Bayou District Foundation transformed a high-crime neighborhood into a safe and welcoming environment that has led to demonstrable results in the standard of living through housing, education, workforce and economic development supports.


Pre-reading: Bayou District Foundation highlights from Hurricane Katrina 10-year anniversary

10:30-11 a.m.


11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Challenges and Innovations

Hear from your colleagues on the biggest challenges they face as well as their most exciting innovations.

12:30-1:30 p.m. Networking Lunch
1:30-2:30 p.m.

Human Services Budgets and Financing: Paying for What Works

Research and evaluation can help lawmakers identify what a state is getting for its activities and funding on behalf of citizens. Tight budgets provide an opportunity to assess policies and programs that are most effective in meeting the needs of citizens.



Pre-reading: New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee Agency Report Cards

2:30-3:30 p.m.

Leveraging SNAP Employment and Training Opportunities

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) includes an employment and training component. Learn how states can tap into this resource, help move families into employment and leverage other workforce and training programs.


Pre-reading: USDA Food and Nutrition Service – SNAP Employment and Training Resources for States

3:30-4 p.m. Break
4-5:30 p.m.

Action Plan Exercise – What Steps Do You Want to Take in Your State

NCSL staff will facilitate table discussions to help you identify your policy goals and action steps you would like to take when you return to your home state.

6 p.m.

The Intersection of Human Services and Education Policy – How to Leverage Both Systems to Improve Outcomes for Children and Families

Policy and program leaders are intentionally focusing on the family as a unit and targeting services to both children and parents to improve outcomes for both generations.

Joint Reception and Dinner With Education Chairs 


Pre-reading: Creating Opportunities for Families: A Two-Generation Approach

friday, oct. 2
7-8 a.m. Breakfast
Renaissance New Orleans Pere Marquette Hotel
8-9:30 a.m.

Providing Quality Services and Supports to Children and Parents to Ensure Family Economic Success

Joint Session with Education Chairs 


Learn more about program and policy interventions to provide comprehensive services to families, including early childhood education, K-12 supports, workforce development and higher education credentials to boost family economic success.




9:30-10:30 a.m.

Multigenerational Strategies – How Legislatures Can Drive Change to Improve Outcomes for Children and Families

Joint Session with Education Chairs


How can legislators align policies to support both generations and increase school readiness, academic success and economic self-sufficiency for families? Hear how two states are tackling this issue and their strategies to reduce poverty.


  • Representative Toni Walker (D), Connecticut
  • Senator Howard Stephenson (R), Utah

Pre-reading: Utah Intergenerational Poverty Presentation

A Two-Generation Approach: Helping Parents Work and Children Thrive (Report to the Connecticut General Assembly)

10:30-11 a.m. Break
11 a.m.-Noon

Poverty in America – What To Do About It

This year marked the 50-year anniversary of the War on Poverty and many would say that war was lost. Recent Census figures show that nearly 50 million Americans are still living in poverty. What can states do to address this issue? What questions should policymakers be asking?


  • Representative John Hines (D), Mississippi


Pre-reading: Poverty in America – What to Do About It

Noon-1:30 p.m.

Lunch: Changing Demographics and Implications for Human Services and Education Policy

Joint Lunch with Education Chairs



  • James H. Johnson Jr., University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill [presentation]


  • Senator Peggy Lehner (R), Ohio
1:30-2:30 p.m. Action Plan Exercise
2:30-3 p.m. Next Steps and Closing Remarks



Additional Meeting Materials