Talking Human Services

by Elaine Mejia on December 17, 2015 in Child Well-being

human servicesWe know that many of our partners are working hard to help the public understand the importance of human services. To that end we highly recommend this new Message Memo from The Frameworks Institute. The memo characterizes the fundamental challenge of current public narratives about human services this way:

The tension in the plotline {the deserving poor versus the lazy who will not work} of this story revolves around assessments of the “worthiness” of the person in need of assistance, while the precipitating events and social contexts remain invisible or, at best, in the distant background. Because so much of the narrative action is focused on establishing worthiness, public support for human services is always vulnerable to attacks on the character and “deservingness” of recipients.

As always, the report outlines a compelling list of recommendations, both for how to make an affirmative case (lead with the value of human potential, etc.) as well as how to avoid common traps (individualism, the government, etc.). Thanks, Frameworks, for this important contribution to the field of communications on public issues.