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SNAP directors hold October conference in Ohio.

The annual American Association of SNAP Directors (AASD) conference was held October 9-12 in Columbus, Ohio. An estimated 150 state, federal, and advocate partners attended the four-day event on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program topics, and comments were overwhelmingly positive. The conference began with a welcome address from Michael Colbert, director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (DJFS), followed by a very informative plenary session by the DJFS staff on "Navigating the Seas of Change: Using Partnerships to Effect Change."

The Monday afternoon plenary was an excellent panel presentation on "SNAP Program Integrity: Fact, Fiction and the Future." Panelists included staff from the Office of Management and Budget, the Mississippi Department of Human Services, and the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) plus APHSA's Director of Strategic Initiatives, Larry Goolsby, who shared information regarding trafficking, state initiatives to reduce or eliminate fraud and trafficking, and program improvement initiatives. On Tuesday morning, we held our traditional plenary covering SNAP policy and legislative issues, featuring national and state representatives.

The conference also featured many breakout sessions covering current SNAP priorities, including SNAP nutrition education and healthy food choices; health care reform and its impact on SNAP; senior outreach; restaurant meal plan initiatives; modernization efforts in Utah, Idaho, and Washington; AARP's drive to end hunger; current issues in quality control (QC); and SNAP policy and QC collaboration for program improvement. The last two workshops were especially designed for members of APHSA's National Association for Program Information and Performance Management affiliate, which did not hold a separate conference this year.

Performance bonus awards were presented by Jessica Shahin from FNS to those states honored for fiscal year 2010 payment accuracy, low negative error rates, program access, and timeliness. During this year's awards luncheon, three of the four Hunger Champion Gold Award winners were able to attend, accept their awards, and give a brief presentation on the winning initiative for their agencies. The Hunger Champion awards, which recognize local agency excellence in operating SNAP, were given this year to the Ashe County Department of Social Services of Jefferson, North Carolina; the Hanover County Department of Social Services of Ashland, Virginia; the San Bernardino County Transitional Assistance Department of San Bernardino, California; and the Portland Metro Processing Center in Portland, Oregon.

Alan Shannon from the FNS Midwest Regional Office was the closing speaker. Using a combination of fact, humor, and long-time experience working with SNAP, he motivated and sent conference attendees back to their homes and workplaces renewed and ready to continue the great work of furthering SNAP participation and program integrity excellence.

We were pleased to have seven sponsors and three exhibitors attending the conference in support of AASD. These partners' support helped make the conference a successful and very-enjoyable one. We also enjoyed having the Ohio Benefit Bank van on site for tours on Monday, October 10.

The 2012 AASD Conference will be held in Oklahoma City! Stay tuned for further information about next year's conference dates.

AASD continues to focus on the scheduled 2012 SNAP reauthorization and is developing program policy positions to present formally to policymakers. This is part of the ongoing function of this affiliate--being a vocal and active presence in forming and reforming SNAP policies and processes.

American Association of SNAP Diretors an affiliate of the American Public Human Services Association.
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Title Annotation:association news; Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
Publication:Policy & Practice
Article Type:Conference notes
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 1, 2011
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