By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Department of Human Services released its annual report and DHS commissioner Anne Marie Ambrose sat down with KYW Newsradio to discuss changes at the agency over the past year.

Over the past year, DHS says they have worked to implement its Improving Outcomes for Children initiative, which includes a streamlined process of providing supervision to DHS cases. Under the program, neighborhood social services agencies provide caseworkers that are overseen by DHS.

So far, Northeast Treatment Centers and APM are the only two neighborhood partners fully in place.

“We’ve returned a lot of kids from out of state placement,” says Ambrose.

She says the ultimate goal is to keep kids in their homes by better enabling access to parenting classes and drug, alcohol, mental health and housing services that can help parents stabilize and keep family units intact.

“There’s a lot of distrust of the Department of Human Services as an agency, as a government agency,” Ambrose says. “We believe that by partnering with neighborhood providers who have been in those communities for a long time and have credibility with the community, families will be more willing to go for help.”

Ambrose says the changes mean 68 percent fewer kids are placed in homes out of state when an emergency arises and they are working to place fewer kids in group homes.

For more on the initiative, go to

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