Human Services Strategy

Our internal frameworks outline our key strategies and intended impact.


We serve Oaklanders by:

  • Providing first-rate programs for children, youth, seniors, and other adults through direct services, grants, and collaboration with other public and community-based agencies.
  • Promoting social equity—particularly for children, youth, and seniors—by developing new resources and leveraging existing resources.
  • Developing and supporting collaborations that improve community health and safety, with an emphasis on violence prevention and community building.
  • Identifying, planning, and responding to community needs with appropriate policies and programs.
  • Ensuring that operations and programs are run efficiently, and improving our accountability through expanded performance monitoring and evaluation.
  • Creating opportunities for community engagement and education through volunteerism and involvement with Boards and Commissions.
  • Raising community awareness of our services by enhancing department visibility and outreach.
  • Fostering staff development and recognition.

Over six months, both large (80) and small groups (10) came together to explore and develop a new mission statement and elements of the Theory of Change which includes: focus issues, assumptions, key strategies, expected change and environmental context. Completed in 2003, the Theory of Change provided all DHS programs with a common framework for how they worked together to impact the lives of individuals and families in Oakland.

In 2004, the work continued. Programs began to strengthen their alignment within DHS (based on the Theory of Change) and in the broader Mayor/City Council framework (Goals and Objectives). To do so, technical assistance and training were provided to programs in order to complete a program narrative. The program narrative was designed to guide program teams through a process of reflection and strategic thinking about the underlying purpose of their efforts and to identify targets and measures for tracking implementation and impact (See Narrative Template page). Throughout the process, teams have expressed greater knowledge and understanding of the work of their colleagues. Opportunities for increased integration and collaboration have surfaced and a common language has been developed throughout the Department. In July 2005, DHS completed its strategic framework and revised its Theory of Change to reflect the work thus far. Once the program narratives are complete, DHS can look across the department programs and identify and set performance targets that more accurately reflect the work that is being done in the field and the impact it is having on the lives of Oakland residents. Meanwhile, DHS continues to refine current performance measures and other mechanisms for evaluating and monitoring outcomes.