Twenty questions. Five minutes. Show us what you've got.
(Photo by Flickr user nathanmac87, used under a Creative Commons license)
Social services live and die by the acronym. And by “acronym,” we mean an innumerable amount of acronyms.
Between policies, practices and titles alone, there are enough acronyms in the social service space to trigger an existential crisis. Throw in localized acronyms and you have to wonder how social workers, clinicians and government staffers stay sane.
For example, Resources for Human Development (RHD) has a family shelter program called FaSST (Family Shelter Support Team). At the Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania (CHOP), volunteers offer some similar services under HHI (Homeless Health Initiative). Both organizations work in some capacity with family shelter Families Forward Philadelphia (FFP).
That’s just one small sliver of services for homeless youth and families in Philadelphia. You get the picture.
The point is, these acronyms are a major part of the language used in the service of vulnerable populations. So, we compiled 20 acronyms used by nonprofits and government agencies across several issue areas in Philadelphia.
Think you can speak the lingo?
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Question 1 of 20
Nonprofits like Resources for Human Development (RHD) and People’s Emergency Center (PEC) rely on mixed funding from the private sector (individuals, corporations, foundations) and the public sector (federal, state, local). In Philadelphia, those local public dollars are distributed by a City department called OHS.
Question 2 of 20
In Philadelphia, the Network Improvement and Accountability Collaborative (NIAC) is the city team responsible for monitoring most services provided by DBHIDS. NIAC was formed in 2011 to standardize the way in which DBHIDS’ myriad service providers are evaluated.
Question 3 of 20
In 1989, staff from Bethesda Project and Women of Hope (led by Sister Mary Scullion) set up a temporary shelter for chronically homeless men called the Mother Katherine Drexel Residence. It was the beginning of Project H.O.M.E. But what does H.O.M.E. stand for, anyway?
Question 4 of 20
Following a Congressional mandate in 1998, HUD-funded Continuum of Care (CoC) providers began measuring and reporting the effectiveness of their programs using HMIS. In accordance with the HEARTH Act of 2009, those providers are now required to meet federal HMIS standards before receiving funding from HUD.
Question 5 of 20
In Philadelphia, OAS was formerly known as CODAAP.
Question 6 of 20
You can find WRAP offered by providers like the Mental Health Association of Southeastern PA (MHASP), The Wedge Recovery Centers and Greater Philadelphia Health Action (GPHA).
Question 7 of 20
States require licensed social workers to maintain their professional credentials by accruing Continuing Education Units (CEUs). In Philadelphia, accredited CEU programs are offered by organizations such as Pennsylvania Society for Clinical Social Work (PSCSW), Fairmount Behavioral Health System (FBHS) and BHTEN.
Question 8 of 20
Evidence-based practices (EBP) are social programs that are proven to produce an expected result. EBPs such as Ecosystemic Structural Family Therapy (ESFT), Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) and FFT are tested rigorously by practitioners and used to inform public policy.
Question 9 of 20
In 2007, three Philadelphia city agencies launched a collaborative project called JOH by tapping programs offered by Horizon House, WomanSpace and Resources for Human Development (RHD).
Question 10 of 20
Broad Street Ministries (BSM) partners with associates from Utility Emergency Services Fund (UESF) to provide constituents with access to Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and SNAP benefits.
Question 11 of 20
Community Umbrella Agencies (CUA) are child welfare service providers contracted and monitored in Philadelphia by DHS.
Question 12 of 20
Funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and operating under contract with the City of Philadelphia, CBH is a nonprofit that services 420,000 Medicaid recipients across Philadelphia County.
Question 13 of 20
In 1965, the Older Americans Act was signed into law to better service the nation’s elderly population. Those services are planned and provided on a local level by AAAs such as Philadelphia Corporation for Aging (PCA), founded in 1973.
Question 14 of 20
Now in its fifth edition and published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) since 1952, the DSM is notoriously known as “the Bible” for social workers and health care professionals.
Question 15 of 20
In 1935, Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s administration enacted the Second New Deal, which resulted in Congress passing the U.S. Housing Act in 1937. That year, the Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) was established in response to its PHA Plan.
Question 16 of 20
In 1987, Philadelphia was one of nine cities to receive funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to create a unified mental health system. The grant led to the creation PMHCC, a nonprofit that exists to support several city agencies
Question 17 of 20
Pennsylvania’s Child Abuse Hotline was created in 1975 following the establishment of the CPSL. During the first two years of the CPSL, the number of child abuse reports in Philadelphia alone more than doubled.
Question 18 of 20
Considered by many in the field to be the “gold standard” of community-based mental health approaches for homeless individuals, ACT is utilized by providers such as Pathways to Housing PA and Resources for Human Development (RHD).
Question 19 of 20
In addition to providing services, People’s Emergency Center (PEC) has a community organizing arm that mobilizes local agency leaders around policy reform. Those partners have included Children’s Work Group (CWG), National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY) and PACDC.
Question 20 of 20
In 2001, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) published “Standards for Cultural Competence in Social Work Practice,” an effort to urge social workers to re-evaluate their personal biases and take steps to eradicate them during service. The standards and indicators are developed by NCORED.
Tony Abraham is Technically Media's special projects reporter, where he currently edits Technical.ly's Grow PA series. He reports for both Technical.ly and Generocity and was a Philly News Award winner for Community Reporting of the Year in 2016. A proud native of Allentown, Pa., the Temple University alumnus calls Fishtown home.