In the News: Dept. of Human Services name change better reflects mission
House Bill 993, which renamed the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare as the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, was signed into law as Act 132 during the 2013-14 Legislative Session.
According to advocates for the change, renaming the department was long overdue, and as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported, the name change better reflects the department’s mission.
“[The name change] is a good first step,” said Bob Nelkin, president of the United Way of Allegheny County, one of numerous Pittsburgh-area nonprofits that was involved in the renaming campaign.
“The second step is to recognize that these are important, vital services. … These services are vital to helping people live in a safe and dignified way,” such as helping frail seniors, helping foster children and helping people with disabilities.”
Pennsylvania was the only state still using the name Department of Public Welfare.
In order to mitigate costs associated with the transition, the law also allows the department to use the name Department of Public Welfare on badges, licenses, contracts, deeds, stationery and any other official documents until existing supplies are exhausted.
The act also establishes an anonymous Department of Human Services fraud tip line to report suspected fraud or abuse. It can be reached at 1.844.DHS.TIPS.