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Office of the Director


The Division of Public Assistance (DPA) is one of eight divisions within the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. The division's activities and functions fall under eight major sections: The Office of the Director, Field Services, Policy Development, Information Technology, and Program Integrity and Analysis, Children Programs, Administrative Services, and Budget.

The Office of the Director

The Director oversees all the activities of DPA and is responsible for coordinating the activities of DPA with other divisions within the department and with partner agencies that also provide services to public assistance applicants and recipients. It is the director's responsibility to guarantee that DPA meets its mission and follows its guiding principles Staff in the director's office provide a liaison with the legislature, are responsible for public relations and communications, and help to administer and manage DPA's budget.

Field Services

Staff in Field Services provide services and aid directly to people who temporarily need public assistance to care for their families. Most Field Services staff are case workers who may have to manage cases for up to/or over 100 families each. They interview clients to determine if they are eligible for aid and authorize the payment of benefits. They help families to develop plans to become self-sufficient and, whenever possible, help families to get the support services, like child care, they need to become independent. Over 400 staff across the state work together to provide public assistance and supportive services to almost 13,000 Alaskan families. Many of these people are case workers who work with Fee Agents to assist people in rural communities.

Field Services includes staff who support the case workers. They provide training, conduct fraud investigations, collect claims, and measure the performance of DPA's programs and staff.

Policy

The staff involved in this function are responsible for developing the rules for all of DPA's assistance programs. They interpret state and federal laws to insure that program policies treat people equally. They work closely with Field Services and System Operations to insure that program policies are understandable and easy to implement.

Information Technology

Each month thousands of checks, medical coupons, food stamp identification cards, and notices are issued automatically by DPA's computer system, the Eligibility Information System (EIS). Each case worker enters thousands of bits of information into EIS every day. Staff in System Operations manage DPA's computer system and design ways to improve it so it is faster and more accurate. Network Services is the unit that maintains the division's computers and networks. The Communications and Web Team is the unit that is in charge of communications efforts including marketing campaigns, television/radio ads, films, print publications, and media coordination. It is also in charge of web development, including the public DHSS divisional website, DPAweb intranet, and many customized web applications, including the Food Stamp Online Training Module project.

Children's Services

This section oversees child care assistance services and the Child Care Assistance Program, which administers the PASS I, II, and III child care programs, plus child care facility licensing.

Program Integrity & Analysis Manager

This section provides management oversight to Food Stamp Quality Assessment, Continuous Improvement Action Unit, Contract Services Quality Assurance, Fraud, Benefit Recovery and the Research Unit.

Budget Manager

This section provides management oversight to budget staff and accounting techs, including our new team at the Anchorage Childcare Program Office.

Administrative Services Manager

This section manages our new Human Resources Unit, Grants Administration, Training Coordination, and Procurement

The Office of the Director, program and policy development staff and some units providing field services are located in Juneau. The Chief of Field Services, Information Technology and other units providing field services are located in Anchorage.

DPA has regional offices located in Fairbanks, Juneau, and Anchorage. There are also district offices located in Anchorage, Juneau, Fairbanks, Bethel, Ketchikan, Kenai/Soldotna, Homer, Nome, Kotzebue, Sitka, and Wasilla. In rural communities that do not have district offices, DPA contracts with Fee Agents to help people in their area apply for public assistance.

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