Dialogue with Human Services Advisory Groups Encourages Collaboration and Action

May 21, 2012


  • Need for collaboration and coordination among the various groups supporting human services in Fairfax County.
  • Call to action to address human service needs.
  • Future dialogue sessions will be held with other key human services partners.

Kevin Bell addresses human services group.The Fairfax County Human Services Council, in partnership with Deputy County Executive Patricia Harrison, hosted a dialogue on Saturday, May 19, to discuss how to work together to support better outcomes for Fairfax County residents. There are currently dozens of boards, authorities, commissions and advisory groups that support human service activities in Fairfax County. Nearly 50 representatives from those groups brainstormed how to work collaboratively to solve the challenges facing human services. 

The Human Services Council is a citizen group appointed by the Board of Supervisors to advise agencies and the board on budget and program-related issues.

Kevin Bell, chairman of the Human Services Council, welcomed the group and outlined the goals for the day. Harrison gave an overview of human services in Fairfax County, discussed what challenges need to be addressed and the role of human services groups in responding to the issues. Terri Lee Freeman, president of the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, shared a philanthropic perspective on responding to challenges regionally. Newly appointed County Executive Edward L. Long, Jr. was present to listen to the concerns and respond to questions.

Attendees at this dialogue session were able to:

  • Increase their understanding of the different roles advisory groups play in human services;
  • Strengthen relationships with their colleagues; and
  • Gather information that will inform future planning.

Harrison stated that ongoing collaborative work among the various citizen groups is critical. “We value the role and the voice of our community in shaping our services and policies,” she said. “But given the highly complex and systemic nature of the issues we are facing, we are doing the public a disservice if we do not facilitate ways for these groups to work together.” 

Future dialogue sessions will be convened with other key human services partners, including nonprofits, coalitions and advocacy groups, faith-based organizations, philanthropic organizations and the business community.


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