State Agencies Partner with Faith- and Community-based Organizations

Health Care

In 2011, the Texas Legislature directed the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) and other state agencies to build partnerships with faith- and community-based organizations in order to benefit from nonprofit resources and connections. The resulting Texas’ Faith and Community-Based Initiative works to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of state programs and services while making it easier for nonprofits to partner with the state. Additionally, a group of leaders from Texas’ nonprofit world, the Task Force on Improving Relations with Nonprofits, meets with state agency staff to identify areas where they could work together and to share information across Texas about state-driven opportunities.

Collaboration between state agency staff and the task force is yielding concrete results, HHSC reports. HHSC is training staff from faith- and community-based organizations through a pilot program, Community Partners, to act as navigators to help people fill out and submit applications for state benefits and manage their cases online. The navigator program is expected to expand statewide this fall.

The Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities is also partnering with community-based organizations on a variety of projects, including four projects to hold faith-based symposiums in different parts of the state. These projects will bring together leaders of many faith-based organizations to share information about how to support and fully include people with developmental disabilities and their families in their communities. The lead organizations are the Jewish Family Service of Dallas, OneStar Foundation, West Central Texas Regional Foundation, and The Arc of Greater Tarrant County (IDD Needs Council of Tarrant County).