Reframing newsletter

From “Safety Net” to “Building Blocks”

March 29, 2018
Earlier this week, Governing published an article that focused on the work NHSA is doing with the National Reframing Human Services Initiative.  “Is It Time to Stop Saying ‘the Safety Net’?” features the work of and quotes from NHSA’s Bridget Gavaghan, Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, and American Public Human Services Association. The article explains the reasoning behind each organization’s strategic decision to integrate the Building Well-Being Narrative into communications and to stop using phrases like “the safety net” to describe the work that human service agencies do. Along with sharing research from FrameWorks Institute, the author cites additional evidence that shows how language can shape whether or not the public supports human services.
“’We know we need to do a better job as a sector in telling the story of what our work does, why it’s important to society, why people benefit even if they don’t see themselves as direct recipients of services,’ says Bridget Gavaghan… Instead of talking about the safety net, the groups want people to think about access to employment, housing, education and health care as ‘building blocks’ necessary for a metaphorical “house,” or community’s well-being. They emphasize that communities are interconnected, so services that help one household or neighborhood succeed ultimately benefits everyone.” Read the article in full.