Strategic Plan

The five-year goals for the Dane County Department of Human Services form the foundation for the Department to improve outcomes to those it serves and strengthen the core competencies of the organization. The Department’s goals focus on four areas: improving the lives of the individuals it serves; improving the performance of its systems and its ability to publicly report on that performance; improving its financial health; and improving its organizational effectiveness and infrastructure.


Dane County Department of Human Services provides a range of human services to the citizens of Dane County. The Department operates a nursing home and administers over a dozen separate human service systems, which meet the needs of over 31,000 Dane County citizens annually. Most systems are governed by complex state and federal statutory and administrative requirements and are supported with a blend of state, federal and local revenues. The Department’s annual budget is over $230 million, of which 73 percent is outside revenue that is primarily made up of state and federal funds.

The Department is committed to improving the lives of those it serves. It provides services to some of Dane County’s highest need citizens, who rely on the Department’s services because of disability, poverty, substance abuse, maltreatment, mental illness, and frailties due to aging. The Department employs 549 full-time staff, but approximately half of the Department’s budget is used to support contracted services in the community typically provided by private, non-profit organizations. In , the Department contracted with over 140 organizations in Dane County to provide services to consumers with physical and developmental disabilities, the elderly, children and adults with mental illness, homeless families, low-income adults seeking employment and children and youth with support needs stemming from child maltreatment or juvenile delinquency.

Every five years, the Department develops a strategic plan. The strategic plan guides the Department’s work and priorities over the subsequent five years. The Department’s leadership, or management team, made up of the director, deputy director, the three program division administrators and the administrator of Badger Prairie Health Care Center, develops the plan with input from a variety of different sources. The plan is presented to the Dane County Executive, the county executive’s advisory committee on planning, the Human Services Board, and the county board’s standing committee for human services, the Health and Human Needs Committee. The plan is also shared with the Dane County Board of Supervisors and will be publicly posted on the Department’s website at

The Department updates the plan annually by developing measurable objectives and timelines designed to help it reach its strategic goals. The annual plans are used to ensure the Department continues to make incremental and continuous progress toward achieving its strategic goals. The Department also provides an annual progress report to local policy makers and advisory boards.

This publication provides the strategic framework for the Dane County Department of Human Services for -, including: its updated mission, vision and values; challenges and opportunities in the environment; and its strategic goals.