ORA Board Meets with DHS Director/DHS Briefing Recap
This week the new DHS Director met with members of the ORA Board and also had his first agency wide briefing with stakeholders. In the meeting with representatives of the ORA Board he encouraged us all to just call him Fariborz and to not attempt his last name... no one does.
He made it clear that like his predecessor Clyde Saiki, he has an open door policy and hopes to be a facilitator for problem solving. His vision for DHS is to see it operate as a united entity, integrated in its approach to service its constituents.
He has long history in state government including prior years at DHS, DAS and more recently the OR Youth Authority but also spent time as a DSP at Fairview for a brief time. He seemed to have a good grasp of the challenge of I/DD supports and the need to stabilize the DSP workforce.
He showed himself to be a good listener to our perspective on what’s working and what’s not. He had some key takeaways from the meeting, according to his recap with us:
In his DHS briefing that included all agency divisions Director Fariborz reiterated his desire to build a “culture of trust,” to get the “right people in the right seats” within the agency to achieve their common interest of “healthy and safe Oregonians.” “We need each other to survive and thrive” and felt the environment was ripe to “honor the past but envision the future.”
A priority for him is to build DHS’s capacity to use data to make informed choices and has added expertise to the DHS team to do just that. His message was very similar to what was shared with the ORA Board and used a suggestion made to him by Cindy Stockton of Riverside Centers that if we could pay DSPs a higher wage, fewer would need public assistance just to survive and support their families.
The new Director is a believer in following the data to understand what brings kids, adults or really participant in the system and to understand the gaps in the system. We look forward to regular engagement with the new Director and he has already scheduled visits to several agencies to get a closer look at supports and to meet people being supported.
We strongly encourage members to reach out to his office and schedule time with the Director in your agency. If you need assistance with this please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.