Category Archives: Events & Actvities

Attention area veterans! Did you know there’s a Veterans Mental Health Council? With monthly meetings at the VA Medical Center in Lebanon.

VA mental health council

Click on the graphic above to download the brochure for more information.

Friday Wrap-Up, May 26, 2017 | a message from the Secretary of Aging

Each week the Office of the Secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Aging releases a Friday newsletter with information relevant to activities, issues and events for older Pennsylvanians and persons with disabilities across the Commonwealth.

Click here to download the newsletter as a .pdf file.

Governor Wolf, Attorney General Shapiro Announce Launch of Reentry Council

“All too often, returning citizens face enormous barriers that endure long after they have paid their debts to society – and with over 600,000 individuals released from federal and state prisons every year, societal choices about how we treat reentering individuals will have far-reaching implications for all of us. Without effective reentry policies, we risk perpetuating cycles of violence, victimization, incarceration and poverty in our neighborhoods. We risk wasting the potential of millions of Americans whose past mistakes continue to exclude them from the chance to contribute to their communities. That’s why the Reentry Council is dedicated to expanding access to the key building blocks of a stable life – employment, education, housing, healthcare, and civic participation – to give formerly incarcerated individuals a second chance and to create stronger and safer communities for all.” – S0URCE: “THE FEDERAL INTERAGENCY REENTRY COUNCIL : A Record of Progress and a Roadmap for the Future

Federal interagency reentry council

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf and Attorney General Josh Shapiro, along with  members of the governor’s cabinet and legislators, announced (on May 15, 2017) the launch of the Pennsylvania Reentry Council (PRC), created to educate the public, members of law enforcement and criminal justice, and policymakers on why supporting prisoner reentry efforts is essential to reducing crime and violence. The council will provide a forum for the sharing of best practices on reentry and will help to identify barriers to successful reentry for persons with criminal records.

“In Pennsylvania, 90 percent of the prison population will return to their community,” Governor Wolf said. “And if we are not successful at getting them the services they need to make it home, then all of our work, all the rehabilitative programming, all the money we’ve spent to get them ready to return home is rendered useless. Pennsylvania has had a large but fragmented network of reentry services, but today with the announcement of the Reentry Council, we can unite the state’s multiple reentry partners into one statewide reentry council.”

“For too long, we’ve relied solely on incarceration to prevent crime and violence,” said Attorney General Josh Shapiro. “By working collaboratively with law enforcement, state and local government and communities, we can create new strategies to expand opportunities and assist returning citizens as they reenter their communities, and make our commonwealth safer as a result.”

The Department of Correction (DOC), the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole (PBPP), the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD), 21 regional reentry coalitions, and numerous reentry services providers work regularly to improve the outcomes of reentrants and increase public safety—but often in silos and without clear direction.

Members of these state agencies and the departments of Human Services, Labor & Industry, Education, and Transportation, the Pennsylvania State Police, the Office of Victim Advocate, and the existing 21 regional coalitions will be part of the new PRC, which will be the center of reentry efforts for the commonwealth to establish common goals, promote evidence-based practices, and encourage collaboration and coordination across all stakeholder groups. PRC will build on the individual successes of reentry organizations and identify and eliminate weaknesses.

The PRC will work to promote collaboration between federal, state, local, and community reentry stakeholders and identify and implement successful evidence-based reentry programs.

“The reentry process begins upon an individual’s admission into the correctional system and continues through release and into their community,” Governor Wolf said. “To continue Pennsylvania’s historic inmate reduction – over 2,000 individuals since January 2015 – we must expand reentry services and build on the good work already being done by stakeholders. The new Reentry Council will do just that.”

“One of the most impactful ways to lower our recidivism rate is meaningful re-integrative services and removing the barriers to re-integration,” Representative Jordan Harris said on behalf of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus. “We applaud the governor and the Attorney General for their foresight to establish this council and look forward to working with the council for the betterment of our commonwealth.”

At the state level the Wolf Administration continues to implement policies and expand services to improve reentry, reduce recidivism, and increase public safety. Among those efforts, Governor Wolf introduced a ‘Ban the Box’ Fair-Chance hiring policy for state agencies that will remove the criminal conviction question from both civil and non-civil service employment applications for agencies under the governor’s jurisdiction. Ban the Box allows for reentry services in Pennsylvania to work by providing applicants a fair chance to be judged on their qualifications, not their criminal history.

Also, Governor Wolf signed Act 5 of 2016 into law, which removes barriers to employment by sealing minor criminal records for those who have been crime-free for 10 years. Farther reaching ‘clean slate’ legislation is anticipated later this year to provide for “automatic” sealing of non-violent misdemeanor records after 10 years.

Following the press conference, the first meeting of the Reentry Council was held at the Attorney General’s Office. (SOURCE: news release)

Governor Wolf to Nominate Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller to be Inaugural Secretary of Health and Human Services

tmillerTeresa Miller has been nominated by Governor Tom Wolf to be the inaugural Secretary of the prospective unified Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

“Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf Yesterday announced his intention to nominate current Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller to serve as the inaugural Secretary of the prospective unified Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Miller has served as Insurance Commissioner since January 2015, where she has worked on a range of issues, including the administration’s top priorities – fighting the heroin and opioid epidemic and helping seniors.

“‘Teresa Miller has established herself quickly in Pennsylvania as a leader in her field, an advocate for consumers and the less fortunate, and an effective administrator whose department quickly found new success in a challenging national environment,’ Governor Wolf said. ‘Over the past two years, Commissioner Miller has fought to protect health care for seniors and kids, increased the department’s efforts for consumer protection and education, and made the department more transparent.’”

Continue reading the announcement here.

RELATED ARTICLES:

SEIU HCPA Applauds Nomination of Teresa Miller as Secretary of PA Dept of Health and Human Services

Insurance commissioner: Shooting for a competitive marketplace for consumers

Volunteer Actors Needed for Keystone 6 Exercise!

Volunteer Actors Needed for Keystone 6 Exercise!

Tuesday, August 15, 10am-1pm | Lunch provided

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services is sponsoring an exercise and we need volunteers! This exercise is called Keystone 6 and is focused on mass care and sheltering during a large-scale disaster. The scenario is based on a large nuclear explosion in New Jersey that drives people to evacuate into Pennsylvania. We are testing our capabilities for opening state managed shelters at both Penn State University’s Harrisburg campus (Middletown) and Shippensburg University.

To see how we might accomplish this, we need people to serve as actors and go through the registration process at the shelter locations, as an evacuee might. We hope to have people with disabilities or other access and functional needs participate so we can practice how we would meet these needs in a real situation.

We promise you do not have to sleep on a cot! Lunch will be provided and you will also be provided information to assist you in forming your own emergency preparedness plan. No reimbursement is available for travel or time.

We need your help so we can best plan for the needs of all Pennsylvanians!

Interested individuals please contact Christine Heyser at cheyser@pa.gov  or 717-461-0389 with the following information:

  1. Name
  2. Preferred location: PSU Harrisburg or Shippensburg
  3. Special dietary needs for lunch, if any
  4. Optional: If you are a person with a disability or other access or functional need, would you be willing to briefly describe the need(s)?

“Who Voted for Harmful Health Care Bill? – AARP is holding supporters of the ‘age tax’ accountable”

who voted which way

“The U.S. House of Representatives on May 4 passed the American Health Care Act by a razor-thin margin: 217 to 213.

It includes an “age tax” that would add up to $13,000 to the cost of insurance for those 50 to 64 and would discriminate against people with preexisting health conditions such as cancer and diabetes. What’s more, it would cause millions of Americans to lose coverage and put Medicare in worse financial shape. That’s just a partial list of what’s wrong with the legislation, which is now under Senate consideration. AARP promised to hold Members of Congress accountable if they voted for this harmful bill. Here they are.

Call 1-844-259-9351 and urge your Senators to vote NO on this high-cost, high-risk health care bill.

Click here to see the lists.

May 31 – Town Hall Meeting at Veterans Affairs Medical Center [VAMC] – Lebanon

VA town hall

“America’s Health Rankings Senior Report released by United Health Foundation”

Pennsylvania ranks 26th in the country for senior citizens, according to the 2017 America’s Health Rankings Senior Report released by United Health Foundation.

Minnesota is the leading state for senior health in 2017, a title it also held in the first two years of the America’s Health Rankings Senior Report. Utah (second) reached its highest ranking in the report’s five-year history, after rising four spots this year. Hawaii (third), Colorado (fourth) and New Hampshire (fifth) round out the top five states.”

PA

 

Wolf Administration Launches Health and Human Services Unification Informational Website

Harrisburg, PA — On May 2, the Wolf Administration announced the launch of a website that details the proposed unification of the departments of Health, Human Services, Drug and Alcohol Programs, and Aging into the new Department of Health and Human Services.

“Delivering public health, social, and human services to Pennsylvanians in the most efficient and effective way requires innovation, creative thinking, and practical solutions,” Governor Wolf said. “That’s why I proposed integrating the departments of Aging, Drug & Alcohol Programs, Health, and Human Services into a new, unified Department of Health & Human Services (HHS).”

Continue reading this news release, click here.

Click here to go to the HHS Unification Website: https://www.governor.pa.gov/health-and-human-services/

Announcing the Re-launch of ACL.gov

Tomorrow, May 4, ACL plans to launch our redesigned website.

This launch is really a first step in overhauling our site, and it accomplishes two primary things.  The first is behind-the-scenes. This site is built using software that will make it much easier for us to share information quickly. That software also includes dramatic improvements in search capabilities, which we hope will make it much easier for people to find what they’re looking for.

We also reorganized the content on our site to make it easier for people who are not familiar with ACL to find the information they need, and also to better illustrate the work we do.  We know we probably haven’t gotten the program category names quite right, and we’re looking for feedback there.  We also know we need to do a lot of content updating and reworking.

We added a page to the site that helps explain how the site is structured. Once the site is launched, you will be able to access that page at www.acl.gov/welcome

One thing that was absolutely critical as we built the site was accessibility and usability, and we believe the site can be used by everyone. We have tested it extensively with software, but more important, actual users have navigated through the site without difficulty. If you have a different experience, please let us know. We’ll get you the information you’re looking for and work to fix the issue.

Unfortunately, if you have bookmarked pages within our existing site, those links will no longer work.  If you cannot find what you’re looking for through the navigation menus or the search feature, please write to us at aclinfo@acl.hhs.gov and we’ll try to get you what you need.

We’re excited about this launch, but we know it is far from perfect.  It would be great to know what you like and what you don’t like, and anything we don’t have that you’d like to be able to find here. This will be a work in progress for some time, and your input will help us make it better.