My name is Meg Snead, and I am excited and honored to now serve as Acting Secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS). I come to DHS after serving as Governor Wolf’s Secretary of Policy and Planning, but I am not new to the human services world or DHS specifically. Prior to joining the Governor’s Office, I started my commonwealth service in DHS’ policy office working on Medicaid, mental health, and substance use policy. Prior to moving home to Pennsylvania, I spent 12 years working in the nonprofit industry in Colorado on affordable housing, homelessness services, and health care policy.
I’m very excited to be back in the agency environment, and it’s an incredible privilege to be back and leading an agency for which I care so deeply. I consider myself an advocate at heart, and the work done at DHS allows me to advocate for Pennsylvanians every day, be it through direct aid and assistance or through the quality of services and care we expect in programs and facilities we oversee. Millions of people across Pennsylvania turn to DHS through difficult times or rely on our programs or services.
I’m coming into this role at an important time for Pennsylvania and for the goals DHS has worked towards since Governor Wolf took office. This is a time to fortify the work and accomplishments of the last six years so this work can continue well beyond the Governor’s tenure. Pennsylvania’s recovery from this pandemic is something that DHS will play an active role in, and I am to use this time to help the people we serve in a way that can put them on a long-term path to better health, economic stability, and an overall improved quality of life.
Additional funding from the American Rescue Plan Act presents a number of opportunities to help continue collective recovery from this pandemic. Over the coming months DHS will provide hundreds of millions of dollars directly for people who are struggling to pay rent or utilities as a result of the pandemic. The Rescue Act also gives us the incredible opportunity to extend the Medicaid coverage period for new moms – something that can help us fight maternal mortality rates that disproportionately affect lower income women and women of color. And DHS will be able to continue support for essential industries that have been so challenged by this pandemic.
As our state and country begins to overcome this pandemic and help Pennsylvania emerge from the economic hardships, DHS will play a critical role in helping steer a recovery that prioritizes vulnerable individuals and families and affords the affiliated providers with the ability to emerge stronger. I know that I am assuming this role through a difficult period, but this has done incredible work in the last year to respond to the everchanging needs of this pandemic.
Joining me at DHS will be Andrew Barnes, who assumes the role of Executive Deputy Secretary. Andrew has been serving as the Executive Deputy Secretary in the Governor’s Policy Office since I assumed the role in 2019. Andrew comes to the position with more than 15 years of experience in the commonwealth. He previously worked in the Office of the Victim Advocate overseeing victim services and working to ensure victims’ rights are upheld and recognized through the justice process. Andrew also led policy and legislative affairs work in the Department of Corrections, working internally and in collaboration with other agencies and governing bodies to advance Pennsylvania’s justice system.
I’d like to thank Teresa Miller and Clarke Madden for their service to DHS and the commonwealth. They’ve done amazing work leading this agency over the last few years, and I’m excited to build on their success and continue working to help Pennsylvanians lead healthier, more enriching lives.