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Groups aim to overhaul human-services funding

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About $1 trillion flows into the U.S. human-services sector each year from government coffers and philanthropy, but as the needs in the sector change, so must the financing system, a new report says.

As the recession continues, issues like child welfare, disability and poverty are outstripping available resources, says the report from Deloitte, the Alliance for Children and Families, and the Hillside Family of Agencies.

One in 10 Americans lived in poverty in 2007 and the ranks of poor children in the U.S. grew by 1.7 million between 2000 and 2006.

“Public and nonprofit service capacity is reaching a breaking point as more families struggle to find services to meet their basic needs,” Robert Campbell, vice chairman for Deloitte, says in a statement. “Today’s economic crisis provides us with a new imperative to address the human-services challenges of the 21st century.”

To begin address this issue, Deloitte and its partners convened a group of sector leaders to develop an initial framework for transforming the way human services are financed.

Recommendations include:

  • Financing for scale and innovation through a reform of government purchasing, investing in the infrastructure of human-services organizations, and updating accounting standards
  • Better integrating services by developing a national human-services strategy, investing in information technology for the sector, and pooling human-services funding
  • Better capitalizing the sector by establishing human-services investment banking, creating financing intermediaries, and examining tax incentives and policies

Deloitte and its partners plan to convene another meeting within the next few months to further discuss the report’s recommendations.

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