Philadelphia Department of Human Services Wins United Nations Public Service Award

Second Place Winner from among 600 applications worldwide.



Philadelphia, June 12, 2013 – The Philadelphia Department of Human Services (DHS) is the recipient of the 2013 United Nations Public Service Award, Second Place, for improving the delivery of public services in the European and North American region. More than 600 organizations from 82 countries submitted applications for a United Nations Public Service Award.  DHS is one of 47 organizations to be recognized and the only North American entity selected for the 2013 United Nations Public Service Award.


“The Department of Human Services is committed to protecting and serving Philadelphia’s children.  Over the last six years, DHS has made critical, systemic changes to improve the way it provides services and strengthen its accountability,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter.  “Our DHS staff, the independent Community Oversight Board, our community-based partners and Commissioner Anne Marie Ambrose have worked together to transform the Philadelphia Department of Human Services.  DHS is truly deserving of this prestigious award.”


DHS received the award for demonstrating excellence in serving the public interest. The award recognizes the transformation of DHS over the past six years, including the recent implementation of its Improving Outcomes for Children initiative (IOC), a groundbreaking, family-centered neighborhood-based approach to child welfare.  The structural and programmatic reforms by DHS have been instituted to increase accountability, improve processes and enhance child welfare and well-being.

Commissioner Anne Marie Ambrose added, “We are honored to receive this award, and we have much more work to do to ensure the safety and well-being of Philadelphia’s children. I thank all of our partners in supporting the transformation of the Department of Human Services.”


DHS was nominated for the award by Casey Family Programs with recommendations submitted by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Supreme Court of Pennsylvania Justice Max Baer.


Deputy Mayor for Health and Opportunity Donald Schwarz said, “I would like to thank our partners in our ongoing effort to improve the Department of Human Services. Foundations such as Casey Family Programs and the Annie E. Casey Foundation understand the importance of making these investments in our most vulnerable youth. Justice Baer and Judge Dougherty have collaborated to reduce the number of children in foster care and increase adoptions and the uniting of families. I would like to thank each of our partners without whom the tremendous transformation of DHS would not be possible.”


William Bell, President and CEO of Casey Family Programs, added, “Casey Family Programs is honored to congratulate Mayor Nutter and the City of Philadelphia on this prestigious award.  This is one more affirmation that children in Philadelphia are in good hands.”


The award will be presented at the United Nations Public Service Forum Day and Awards Ceremony in Manama, the Kingdom of Bahrain, from June 24 to 27, 2013. This year, 47 public organizations from 28 countries will be awarded with the most prestigious recognition of excellence in public service solutions. Over 700 international and regional participants are expected to attend the awards ceremony, including high-level United Nations officials and representatives of the Kingdom of Bahrain, as well as Heads of State and Government, ministers, senior government officials, mayors, and representatives from civil society, academia, the private sector, and international and regional organizations.


The UN Public Service Awards is the most prestigious international recognition of excellence in public service. It rewards the creative achievements and contributions of public service institutions that lead to a more effective and responsive public administration in countries worldwide. Through an annual competition, the awards program promotes the role, professionalism and visibility of public service and public service solutions.


The Program is managed by the Division for Public Administration and Development Management (DPADM) of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) in collaboration with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-WOMEN).


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