Can You Change How People Think About Government Aid?

Source: J.B. Wogan, Governing, July 2015

Many people think the work of human services agencies creates dependency and exacerbates poverty. But there’s a new effort to recast them in a more favorable light.

The Journey to Reframe Human Services: What We’ve Learned, How We Can Apply It
Source: Irv Katz, Bridget McCabe, Ilsa Flanagan, National Human Services Assembly with appreciation to FrameWorks Insitute, 2014

The National Human Services Assembly (NHSA), the association of leading national nonprofit human service networks and organizations, launched a discussion in 2011 on why human services struggle for adequate funding and are little discussed or understood in the public square. The discussion led to the notion of “reframing human services,” applying what has been learned in the social sciences about presenting the concepts and messages of an endeavor in ways that reflect reality and that resonate with the public (in an apolitical way). Assembly members and many others in the human services field have been a part of discussions, research, and related efforts spearheaded by NHSA and its research partner, FrameWorks Institute, for nearly two years. This article suggests that, while there is much work yet to be done in the reframing process, there is knowledge that can be put to use now to begin changing attitudes toward human needs and human services.