WSS Forum: Lessons on Program Integration


Please note: there are two sound disruptions during the broadcast.  The first disruption, which occurs as the final two panelists are introduced, lasts from 8:50 – 11:55.  The second lasts from 40:16 – 41:30.  Click here to read written biographies of the panelists.  We apologize for the inconvenience.



On October 28CLASP, Urban Institute, and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities hosted a forum offering rich lessons about the path to state reform of health and human services programs in the context of the Affordable Care Act.  State participants and national respondents took on the myths about unresponsive state and federal bureaucracies and misperceptions of public programs that support work, including SNAP, Medicaid, and child care assistance.

State participants representing both Republican and Democratic administrations offered concrete examples of successes and challenges, engaging in a candid discussion about state innovations that can make key work supports like SNAP, Medicaid, and child care assistance more efficient and accessible—helping families climb the economic ladder and raise healthy kids.

The forum featured states participating in the Work Support Strategies (WSS) initiative.  With the Ford Foundation as lead funder, WSS helps states design, test, and use innovative approaches that streamline Medicaid, SNAP, and child care assistance.  With improved management practices, better technology, and more consistent eligibility policies across programs, states are trying to eliminate barriers and ensure low-income working families are getting health coverage, healthy meals, and high-quality child care—meeting immediate needs while promoting long-term stability.

A panel of senior leaders from WSS states shared their stories of addressing challenges head on and turning them into successes.  In particular, WSS states discussed how they’ve leveraged the opportunities created by health reform to improve access to work supports.  Along with state leaders, the panel featured national experts.

The panel included:

  • Olivia Golden, Executive Director, CLASP & Former Assistant Secretary for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (Moderator);
  • Robert Reischauer, Former Director, Congressional Budget Office & President Emeritus, Urban Institute;
  • Karama Bailey, Deputy State Director, South Carolina Department of Social Services;
  • Reggie Bicha, Executive Director, Colorado Department of Human Services;
  • Sherry Bradsher, Deputy Secretary, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services;
  • Deborah Buffi, Associate Director of Management Services, Rhode Island Department of Human Services; and
  • Jennifer Wagner, Associate Director of the Division of Family and Community Services, Illinois Department of Human Services.