A Message from DHS Director Courtney E. Hawkins regarding DHS Measures for COVID-19
As news about the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) continues to develop, I want to share with you the steps we are taking at the RI Department of Human Services to prepare and keep you connected to the services and benefits you need.
I want to stress that the health and safety of our customers and employees is the utmost importance at RI DHS. Prevention is essential as this public health emergency continues to evolve.
This is a good opportunity to remind you of our other customer service channels that do not require a visit to our contact center. You can:
We will continue to follow developments with the Coronavirus in Rhode Island with our partners in state government. Our commitment is to keep our customers updated as the situation evolves in the event we need to make any changes to the way we do business in order to appropriately respond to the Coronavirus. Our priority is, and will continue to be, ensuring that Rhode Islanders have access to their public benefits.
Please be sure that you are aware of the following sources of information and are checking back with these sources frequently:
The Rhode Island Department of Health has launched a 24-hour hotline for anyone with questions about the Coronavirus (401-222-8022). Residents can also call 211 after 4:30pm for assistance. I also encourage everyone take preventative actions as recommended by the CDC.
Rhode Islanders are also encouraged to contact the BH Link if you or anyone you know or care about is experiencing a behavioral health care crisis.
2019: Year in Review
As 2019 came to a close, it was important to reflect on the agency’s progress as we begin another year. Over the last year, the agency continued its priority work aligned with its seven Guiding Principles. DHS started off the year by opening a new regional office in Middletown, improving its delivery of services to Aquidneck Island customers and strengthening the agency’s partnership with Child & Family. DHS ended the year by successfully transferring the Child Care Licensing Unit from DCYF to the DHS Child Care Assistance Program to strengthen and deliver high-quality child care services and better support the early childhood education workforce.
Considerable progress was made with RI Bridges system improvements and lobby operations to support our customers. The agency now has 38% shorter wait times for the DHS Call Center, 92% shorter wait times for recertification interviews via phone, 15% of applications and 32% of all documents are now submitted online. DHS continues to inspire confidence among its customers, represented by a 98% satisfaction rate for the DHS call-in line, and an average score of 4.8 out of 5 (very satisfied).
Additional agency accomplishments over the past year include:
DHS will build on the progress of the past year to continue to provide high-quality customer service to our customers and improve our systems. In looking ahead, DHS will focus its efforts to:
We can only do this critical work because of our dedicated and hard-working staff, along with our community partners, legislators, fellow cabinet leaders, and the Governor. While we should celebrate our progress, we know more work is needed. We share Governor Gina Raimondo’s commitment to help all, reduce poverty and achieve equity.
That is the goal, and like in 2019, we will do it together.