The Human Services Development Fund was created “for the purpose of encouraging county governments to provide locally identified services that will meet the human service needs of citizens in their counties” [Act 1994-78, Section 4]. The fund “shall be used by the county solely to provide and administer county based social services and service coordination within the county” [Act 1994-78, Section 6 (b)]. The focus of the program is to provide eligible individuals with allowable services. HSDF monies should generally be used to fund consumer activities, versus portions of programs, as the benefit should be for the individual, not the service provider.
The HSDF affords counties the opportunity to develop services tailored to meet particular needs of individuals that may not be met within the categorical fund structure. It allows counties to develop processes that are intended to enhance the coordination of activities among human service agencies and programs and to expand existing categorical services within the county programs. It is the only source from the Commonwealth available to fund services for low-income adults. There is not county match required.
For Categorical Services
- The applicant must meet eligibility requirements established by the categorical program under which the service is provided; and
- The HSDF funded service activities provided must conform to the service definition established by the categorical program for that service.
For Generic Services
- Applicants must either meet the eligibility requirements for at least one of the categorical programs included under Generic Services; or
- Applicants must meet the financial eligibility requirements of Adult Services found in 55 PA Codes, Chapter 2050, Eligibility for Adult Services Funded through the Adult Services Block Grant; also
- The County must establish a need-criteria appropriate to the service being offered which is approved by the Department of Public Welfare.
For Specialized Services
- Applicants must meet the categorical program eligibility requirements of programs included in the Specialized Service; or
- Applicants must meet the financial eligibility requirements of Adult Services and need criteria outlined under Generic Services; and
- For Generic or Specialized Services, the county may choose to develop a sliding fee scale.
The target population consists of those program-eligible consumers whose needs are not being adequately met through the current categorical funding stream either through lack of sufficient funds, programs or uniqueness of service areas. All HSDF program participants must meet income eligibility criteria. This funding is also directed to low-income adults between the ages of 18 and 59. Counties may use the HSDF to fund services currently provided through the categorical programs. The funding criteria provide a listing of specific allowable and non-allowable services/cost centers for each categorical program. The Human Services programs are:
- Adult Services
- Children and Youth
- Drug and Alcohol
- Homeless Assistance
- Mental Health and Mental Retardation
Generic Services are defined as those "services provided to meet the needs of two or more client populations." There are ten (10) Generic Services within the HSDF:
- Adult Day Care
- Adult Placement
- Centralized Information and Referral
- Chore Services
- Life Skills Education
- Transportation Services
Specialized Services “new services or a combination of services designed to meet the unique needs of a client population that are unmet by the current categorical programs,” Specialized Services provide the county with the flexibility to provide innovative services which address unique county needs.
Service Coordination is defined as “planning and management activities designed to improve the effectiveness of county human services.” The goal is to improve coordination, planning, management and service delivery.
The costs for the administration and management of the HSDF may be funded under the HSDF. Such costs, whether incurred either by the county or an agency designated by the county, are limited to ten percent (10%) of the funds available.
Service provision contracts are done for a period of one year and need to be renewed annually. The process begins by and agency responding to a Request For Proposal (RFP). The RFP notice is publicly announced in the local newspaper. Proposals are evaluated and rated by the Human Service Development Advisory Committee based on a set criterion. Proposals who match these criteria are then passed along to the Mifflin County Commissioners, who prioritize the proposals based on the needs of citizens of the county. Agencies that are prioritized for funding then enter contract negotiations with the Mifflin County Human Services Department based on the recommendations of the Commissioners. Once contract criteria has been established, a contract will be drawn up and signed by the either the categorical program and/or the service provider agency. Awardees will be published in the local newspaper.