Human Service Summit

The Human Service Summit is a once a year opportunity to focus the community’s attention on improving the quality of life through human service strategies.

2017 Human Service Summit – Navigating the Future

A Community Conversation about a Vibrant Johnson County

The UCS Human Service Summit on June 14, 2017 brought together 200 people who care deeply about the future of Johnson County and the services that support people who live and work here. Representatives from key sectors including local nonprofit organizations, city and county governments, foundations, public safety, school districts, businesses and faith communities attended this year’s event.


Complete details can be found in the Summit summary.

2017 Human Service Summit Presentation


2016 Human Service Summit

Reducing Poverty and Creating Opportunity: Expanding Income and Employability

More than 120 professionals from local nonprofit organizations, city and county governments, foundations, and school districts joined together on June 14, 2016 to discuss the progress made from our 2015 Call to Action regarding Reducing Poverty and Creating Opportunity and UCS’ new initiative focused on expanding income and employability for low-income households in Johnson County.

2016 Human Service Summit Summary

2016 Human Service Summit Presentation


2015 Human Service Summit

Moving Toward Solutions: Putting What We’ve Learned into Practice

UCS Issues Call to Action

The question before every community is, “what can be done to reduce poverty and create opportunity?”  Because local communities have little influence over the federal and state policies that are essential for a comprehensive, systemic response, UCS chose a pragmatic approach.  Three specific actions are recommended to the health and human service sector.  These actions can be implemented locally in the context of current programs and activities.  It’s a place to start.


  • Make every health and human service sector job a “good job.”
  • Promote the “Talk, Read, Play” campaign with employees, clients and stakeholders.
  • Increase access to safety net supports for childless adults and transitional age youth.

Why did UCS choose these strategic actions?  Read more.

Framework for Reducing Poverty and Creating Opportunity

UCS designed a framework as a guide for this community’s work together to reduce poverty and create opportunity.  This framework reflects the desire to utilize evidence-based practices in order to be most effective with the need to pragmatically recognize local limitations in available resources and scope of influence.

The framework provides a way to think about how individual and collective efforts create a foundation for change.  The three key elements:  work, education and safety net.

2015 Human Service Summit Highlights

2015 Human Service Summit PowerPoint Presentation

Small Groups Summary

Resource List

News Article

Inventory of Community-Based Health and Human Service Programs and Gaps Analysis

The public safety net is an array of supports intended to promote, protect and restore the well being of individuals and families.  While the public safety net is extensive, it does not have adequate reach to serve all who might benefit or are eligible.  Community-based service providers (nonprofit agencies and departments of county government) often deliver public safety net programs with funding from federal and/or state government. In order to better understand what health and human service programs are available to serve local residents, 32 nonprofit agencies and departments of Johnson County Government were interviewed in person or by telephone between December 2014 and May 2015. UCS’ Inventory of Community-Based Health and Human Service Programs and Gaps analysis is a compilation of the information shared and gaps identified by local providers of safety net services. While not an exhaustive list of organizations that serve Johnson County residents, it does capture a significant range of services that augment the public safety net.

Download the 52 page report.


The 2014 Human Service Summit – Confronting Suburban Poverty

The 2014 Human Service Summit on June 10 drew an audience of 170 to hear Elizabeth Kneebone, a fellow in the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution and co-author of “Confronting Suburban Poverty in America.”

For a one page summary of the day’s event, click Highlight from the 2014 Human Service Summit.

For a summary of the 2014 Human Service Summit’s small group discussion, click here.

2013 Human Service Summit Summary

Suburban Poverty: Meeting the Challenge with Effective Strategies.

Maury Thompson, Erik Stegman, Jill Quigley

Finding long-term solutions to suburban poverty was the theme of the UCS Human Service Summit held on June 18, 2013.

The event focused on national and local trends affecting poor and low-income households and strategic investments to reduce poverty and grow the economy. Erik Stegman of the Half in Ten Campaign, which is working to cut poverty in half within ten years, was the keynote speaker.

His presentation, “Investing in What Works” can be downloaded.  Read more about the presentation here.

Small Group Discussion

Attendees at the 2013 Human Service Summit worked in 12 small groups to discuss three key conditions that are necessary in our community to effectively reduce poverty – good jobs, the right skills to fill those jobs and the supports essential to maintain employment.  The summary is organized by three action recommendations.  For each action, public policy strategies recommended by Half-in-Ten Campaign are listed, followed by local strategies suggested by Summit participants.  Read the Summary here. Participants were also asked to tell how they used the messages created at last years’ Summit. Read the entire list of messages that have been used over the past year.

Messages to Promote the Safety Net’s Value

  • The well-being of our neighbors is vital to our own well-being.
  • The safety net benefits all of us.
  • Investing in the safety net now prevents higher costs later.
  • Safety net programs give children an equal opportunity for success.
  • Investments in the safety net result in a healthier, better educated, and highly-skilled workforce.
  • The safety net doesn’t just help the poor.
  • Poverty is a reality even in an affluent community like Johnson County.

Read the Safety Net Statements.

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