Human Services

Welcome to the County of Bucks Division of Human Services. Our vision is to support communities in which all individuals and families can thrive. Our mission is to support and strengthen individual and family wellness through community connections, collaboration, integration, innovation, and responsible stewardship of resources.

The Division of Human Services oversees the following County administered programs:

Area Agency on Aging

Behavioral Health / Developmental Programs

Children & Youth

Drug & Alcohol Commission, Inc.

Military and Veterans Affairs

Role and Responsibilities

The Human Services Division works collaboratively with public and private agencies to identify barriers and gaps in services, coordinate programming for efficient and effective service delivery, and also advocates with legislators and government offices for adequate funding to meet the needs of County residents.

The Human Services Department is staffed with a Director, Finance and Administration Manager, Information Technology Manager, two Co-Responders embedded in the Bensalem Police Department, a Resource Navigator stationed in the Bucks Human Services Connect Hub, and a Human Services Development Fund Coordinator.  The Department administers the Human Services Development Fund portion of the annual Human Services Block Grant allocation.


PLEASE JOIN US IN REMEMBRANCE 

Memorial Day Flyer 2022



ATTENTION LANDLORDS AND REALTORS!

Bonus for Bucks Landlords - Part of the Bucks Landlord Incentive Program (BLIP)

Bonus for Bucks Landlords is offering several types of incentives to landlords and realtors who participate in the Housing Link’s fight against housing insecurity by leasing units to tenants who are Housing Link program participants.

Since the program launched in July 2021, the Bonus for Bucks Landlords initiative has had a significant impact on those experiencing housing instability in Bucks County. The bonuses have enabled the Housing Link Housing Locators, a program through Bucks County Opportunity Council, to place nearly 30 people in 12 households into units since the program launched, with more pending. Landlords have been paid out just over $15,000 through the program. Two-thirds of this funding has gone to landlords as the Bonus Rent incentive, bringing much needed housing inventory to clients working with the Housing Link and their partners. The rest were Continuity Coverage incentives paid to landlords, enabling those landlords to cover expenses for one month while a new Housing Link participant moved into the unit. Four of the households placed through the Bonus for Bucks Landlords program hold Section 8 vouchers. 

Because of the success of the Bonus for Bucks Landlords program thus far, the Housing Link is excited to announce an extension and expansion of the program through July 31, 2022. Due to time-limited funding, for the next six months new landlords will be able to receive a Bonus Rent incentive equal to TWO months of rent (available upfront at lease-up), double the amount previously available. The Continuity Coverage and Finder’s Fee incentives will continue at their current rates of $2,000 finder fee and one month’s rent for continuity. For more information and contact information for the initiative, please visit  Bonus for Bucks.

The Bonus for Bucks Landlords Event has been extended through July 31, 2022.


Children & Youth Opens ‘Visit House’ in Lower Bucks

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Bucks County Children & Youth Social Services Agency today celebrated the opening of its first “visit house” in Middletown Township.

Located on Middletown Boulevard near the Oxford Valley Mall, the facility provides a long-needed space in Lower Bucks where children in foster care can visit with their parents, and where families the agency serves can meet with social workers in a convenient location.

“We always want to support and assist our families in their homes, but unfortunately that’s just not always possible,” said Bucks C&Y Director Marjorie McKeone. “Making the trip to our offices in Doylestown can be a stumbling block for our families in Lower Bucks, so we’ve talked about the idea of this ‘visit house’ for quite some time.” 

“It took years of planning, but we’re thrilled to finally make this option available,” she said.

Though county commissioner and officials cut the ribbon on the $330,000 facility Thursday, the visit house has been in use for a few months, serving already as a space for meetings with families with a rotating cast of C&Y employees staffing the building during the week.

Bucks United Flood Recovery (BUFR)

What is BUFR?  Bucks United Flood Recovery (BUFR) is a partnership between United Way of Bucks County and the County of Bucks to help implement services in support of the recovery from severe flooding on July 12, 2021.  Services provided under the BUFR program may include:  emergency repairs, mold mitigation and/or remediation, rebuild & rehabilitation, and other services that ensure that the dwellings of low- and moderate-income Bucks County residents are safe, secure, and sanitary.  Learn more about BUFR

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Newsletters

Check out our recent Newsletters to find out more about what is happening in the Human Services Division!

New Initiatives 

Expansion of the Co-Responder Program

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Bucks County Hires 2 New Co-Responders to Assist Police, Creates 2 More Positions

A year after launch, Bucks County’s Human Services Co-Responder program has expanded into two more municipalities with efforts underway to spread the successful pairing of social workers and police even further.

The county’s two newest co-responders, Jessica Manzo and Cara Gadzinski, began work today alongside the Falls Township and Middletown Township police departments, where they will help divert people in need of social services support away from the criminal justice system.

They are the first additions to the program since last December when the county’s first two co-responders started with the Bensalem Police Department.

“I am honored that Middletown and Falls accepted our offer to continue the pilot co-responder program into their municipalities,” said Bucks County Commissioners Chair Diane Ellis-Marseglia, LCSW. “I am certain this is going to provide relief for officers who have been managing human service issues, and will be a responsive service for residents facing challenges.”

From December 2020 to June, the co-responders in Bensalem had contact with 132 people across 188 calls. Between initial responses and follow-ups, the co-responders spent approximately 185 hours with people in need of services.

A six-month review indicated the co-responders stationed in Bensalem seemed already to be helping to reduce the amount of time police officers were spending on non-crime calls. Further review will be required to substantiate the early, but promising, finding.

“We are very excited to bring this program to the community of Falls Township,” said Falls Police Chief Nelson Whitney. “This co-responder program represents another innovative step in improving services to our residents and improving their quality of life.”

Co-responders collaborate and coordinate with agencies both in the county’s criminal justice system, such as the District Attorney’s and Public Defender’s offices, as well as more than two dozen social services groups including the Area Agency on Aging, the Bucks County Children and Youth Social Services Agency and the Network of Victim Assistance.

In Bensalem, referrals for mental health in adults and juveniles accounted for more than half of all referrals made by the co-responders in the program’s first six months. About 35 percent of all referrals were to county government agencies, the six-month report said, 34 percent were to community-based social service agencies and about a quarter were to medical entities.

“After seeing the success of the co-responder program in Bensalem, we are excited to partner with Falls Township PD for this second round of the co-responder program,” said Middletown Township Police Chief Joe Bartorilla. “I’m grateful to our county government for pursuing the grant to make this possible. We’re looking forward to implementing the co-responder program in Middletown Township to help our police department better protect and serve our great Middletown Township community.”

Conducted by Dr. Patricia Griffin of Holy Family University, the six-month evaluation examined data collected by the Bucks County Human Services Division. A one-year review is underway, and another is planned to follow the program’s two-year mark.

Manzo and Gadzinski’s start in Falls and Middletown comes just a week after the county Salary Board approved the creation of two more co-responder positions. Once filled, those positions will be assigned to the Bristol Township, Bristol Borough and Tullytown police departments. 

The county’s co-responders all have started at a salary of $58,000. The county has agreed to fund each position for two years.

Media Contact: James O’Malley, 215-348-6414, jtomalley@buckscounty.org

  Co-Responder Program

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In December of 2020, Bucks County launched the Co-Responder Program as a pilot in its largest municipality, Bensalem Township.  Bucks County leadership and the Bensalem Township Police Department successfully launched this initiative and were thrilled to welcome Rachel Agosto and Walter Bynum as our first co-responder team. This pilot is fully funded through current MH Base dollars and consists of a two-person mobile social worker team embedded in the Bensalem Township Police Department.  The team partners with law enforcement and serves as a liaison in addressing the social service needs of individuals contacting 911 Emergency Services to affect the following outcomes: decrease the time law enforcement spends in response to a situation involving social service needs; provide a more effective emergency response through the addition of clinical-informed support and an enhanced community resource knowledge base; ensure those who outreach for an emergency response receive timely and streamlined connection to resources to address their social service needs; and divert individuals with primary social service needs from further penetration into the criminal justice system. 

During the start time that the Co-Responder Program has been in place, we have already experienced positive outcomes; there has been immediate response to crisis situations as well as a reduction of repetitive calls from persons with issues better addressed by our County Human Services Division. Also, individuals with substance use issues have been connected with treatment rather than incarcerated, seniors have been linked with needed community resources, and individuals in mental distress have been supported to avoid acting on their suicidal thoughts.   In addition to real-time response, the Co-Responder team follows individuals for up to sixty days to ensure connections have been made to address social service needs.   The current Program has also partnered with a forensic research consultant to analyze collected data and it is proposed that this evaluation component be extended to the expansion municipalities.   

Bucks Human Services Connect - The Hub

The Bucks County Human Services Division has launched The Hub – Bucks Human Services Connect!  The vision of the Hub is for Bucks County residents, their families, and those who support them to be aware of and have access to human services resources in person and virtually through a person-centered, supportive, integrated experience. There has been a work group underway for the last several months dedicated to this initiative and we were thrilled to see The Hub open for business as of Tuesday, February 16th, 2021!  Already the Hub has received hundreds of calls, e-mails, and walk-ins in just the three months since the grand opening.

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The Hub is on the first floor of the Administration Building in Doylestown and is accessible for in-person and virtual supports for individuals in need Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. As you know, there is a vast array of human services resources available in Bucks County, but navigating the system can be overwhelming, time consuming, and quite daunting – often at a time when it is the hardest for an individual in need to make such an effort. There is no wrong door at the Hub and staff will always try to exercise a warm hand-off as they transition a client from the Hub to the appropriate connection to services. There is no issue too big or too small for the Hub staff and the hope is that Bucks County residents will seek the assistance they need to get help to become more secure and to lead healthier lives. The Hub’s Resource Navigator and support staff will offer a helping hand and guidance to those seeking help.

 Also, please click on the link below to view the recently released public service announcement of this new service:

Bucks Human Services Connect - The Hub PSA

Community Spotlight - Fall 2021

Bucks County is fortunate to work with a strong network of partners and provider agencies.  We will feature some of our partners throughout the year who ensure we fulfill our mission of strengthening and supporting individual and family wellness.

Snipes Farm and Rolling Harvest

In the spotlight this quarter is the Snipes Farm Senior Center produce delivery partnership with Rolling Harvest Food Rescue in collaboration with the Bucks County Area Agency on Aging.  

In 2021, Snipes Farm & Education Center (SFEC) delivered individually packaged shares of locally grown produce to support the nutritional needs of Bucks County seniors age 60+ at risk of food insecurity. SFEC received assistance with Upper Bucks food deliveries through a partnership with Rolling Harvest Food Rescue utilizing their van and driver. To meet the nutritional needs of seniors in Bucks County, fresh produce was delivered to members weekly during the growing season.  Members received items such as tomatoes, corn, cabbage, cucumbers, kale, lettuce, peppers, potatoes, radishes, scallions, spinach, squash, and fresh herbs.  Deliveries began June 21st, 2021 and concluded October 21st, 2021 for a grand total of 43,360 pounds, or almost 22 tons of produce, distributed to eight Bucks County senior centers; the total amount of produce was distributed among 3,600 shares. The word “share” indicates a selection of produce, determined by the farm manager, that is harvested from Snipes Farm for that week’s deliveries. Each share contained organic produce with a retail value of $20.

 The reception to the produce deliveries was overwhelmingly positive and the team hopes to expand the program to all thirteen Bucks County senior centers in 2022!

 For more information, please contact the Bucks County Area Agency on Aging or Snipes Farm & Education Center.

 Rolling Harvest Food delivery

Community Spotlight - Summer 2021

United Way and Bucks County Opportunity Council

In the spotlight this quarter are Fresh Connect and the HELP Center brought to life by a partnership between the United Way of Bucks County and the Bucks County Opportunity Council.  These two programs directly address some of the the most basic needs of our community.  

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Fresh Connect

Fresh Connect is a free mobile farmers market that makes three stops in Bucks County each week. It provides fruits, vegetables, and sometimes other essentials to friends and neighbors who need help accessing fresh produce.

The program is a collaboration between United Way of Bucks County, Bucks County Opportunity Council, St. Mary Medical Center, Rolling Harvest Food Rescue, and Philabundance.

Since COVID-19, Fresh Connect has provided critical contact-free food distribution, serving between 200 – 300% more households than in previous years.

Fresh Connect Hours of Operation:

Tuesdays in Warminster: 11 AM – 1 PM

Thursdays in Ottsville: 10 AM – 12 PM

Fridays in Bristol: 11 AM – 1 PM

Fresh Connect is currently a drive-through operation. Guests need to be sure that their trunks are completely clear and free of materials so that volunteers can place the food in easily.

Pre-registration is required, and volunteers are welcome. To register or to volunteer at a Fresh Connect site, visit www.bcoc.org/fresh-connect

Funding for Fresh Connect is provided by United Way of Bucks County. Donations to Bucks Knocks Out Hunger (www.uwbucks.org/bkohunger) help fund Fresh Connect year-round.

HELP Center

HELP Center is a coordinated Healthy Eating and Living Partnership. It is a collaboration between United Way of Bucks County, Bucks County Opportunity Council, and St Mary Medical Center with support from Penn Community Bank.

The 8,000 square foot site opened in spring 2020 and partners moved quickly to respond to needs in the community from food to paper goods to PPE – to virtually any essential item you can name.

Bucks County Opportunity Council, the county’s lead food agency, uses the HELP Center as central distribution for dry goods. Food is distributed to and through food pantries county-wide. BCOC leverages the space for greater buying power, lowering food costs, which in turn makes more food available.  

United Way of Bucks County serves community partners – Member Agencies, schools, food pantries and more – by providing bulk distribution of essential goods, as well as Bucks County households in need of assistance.

Households facing challenging life circumstances can also “shop” for the items they need, free of charge, when referred and accompanied by a community partner. United Way of Bucks County Member Agencies are invited to refer shoppers to the HELP Center.

Human Services Recognizes......

Community Action Month, May 2021

In May,  Bucks County recognized Community Action Agency Month!  Thank you to Bucks County Opportunity Council (BCOC) for being a valued and critical partner within Human Services.  BCOC was recognized at our May 19th Commissioners Meeting for their work.

BCOC Logo

 

Emergency Hotlines

  • Suicide Prevention Lifeline:  1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • National de Prevencion del Suicidio:  1-888-628-9454
  • Bucks County Housing Link:  1-800-810-4434 (For individuals who are homeless or experiencing a housing-related crisis.)
  • Childline (report child abuse):  1-800-932-0313
  • Children & Youth After Hours Emergency:  1-888-245-7210; press 1 for Operations, 2 for Supervisor
  • Elder Abuse Hotline (Area Agency on Aging):  1-800-243-3767
  • National Domestic Abuse Hotline:  1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
  • PA Drug and Alcohol Helpline:  1-800-662-HELP (4357)
  • Lenape Valley Crisis Warm Line: 215-896-9717
  • Veteran’s Crisis Line:  1-800-273-8255 press 1

Contact us.  We are here to help.

Please reach out if you are in need of help. Our staff is available to offer a helping hand and guidance to those seeking assistance and to connect individuals and families to resources and services so that all Bucks County residents can lead healthier and more secure lives. Call 215-348-6201 or visit the Bucks Human Services Connect, "The Hub."