The North Dakota Department of Human Services will implement a rezoning design across the state which will go into effect on Jan. 1, said Sara Stolt, transformation manager of NDDHS.
During a community meeting in Jamestown on Wednesday, Nov. 20, Stolt said the redesign of the department will not reduce offices or access points for social services or other community resources.
"It's not about saving money," Stolt said. "It's about making it easier for the employees as well as providing easier access for the people we serve."
Stutsman County Social Services and Barnes County Social Services have already reached an agreement to merge into one zone. According to nd.gov, the structure of the department will shift from 47 primarily single-county units to no more than 19 multi-county units across the state.
"We need to provide consistent services across the state," said Chris Jones, executive director of NDDHS. "We as a state need to make the best services possible available for our citizens. We need to do what people need as quickly as possible."
Stolt said the new structure of the department will promote collaboration and break boundaries between counties and will allow the specialization of resources available through the department as well as share the workload between offices to efficiently provide for the community.
"We need to figure out a balance in terms of resources available in order to be successful," Jones said. "We want to simplify the system for the client to make this as easy as possible."