|As we look forward to a new year and a new legislative session, I want to take a moment to look back and reflect on this agency's accomplishments in 2008.
Sometimes it can be difficult for those of who work in human services to take a moment and be proud of what we do because when you are on the front lines you know exactly how much need is still being unmet - how many people there are whose lives would be better if they had the treatment, care, economic assistance or health care that they need.
And yet, it's important to remember that in 2008 we provided direct service to about 1 million people, and had a positive impact on the health of Oregon and every Oregonian. That's not all the people who need us, but it's definitely something to be proud of.
And we should also be proud about all the improvements we made in how we do our work - and will continue to make - that will allow us to reach even more people. We all know how that will be increasingly important as the economic crisis continues and more people in every Oregon community will count on us to help them through these difficult times.
This was a year when we made a focused effort to improve our services to Oregonians. Here is a link to a list, of some (not all) of the many accomplishments for which we should be proud.
Because of the economic realities facing us, our clients and our state, 2009 may be a difficult year in many ways. But when I look back at 2008 it confirms for me that we are well-positioned to take on these challenges.
As I have said before, "That's the way we've always done it," is no longer acceptable to the employees at DHS. This year, more than ever, we must remember to be strong, creative and thoughtful in how we approach the work we do every day. I know we are up to the task.