Human Services 101: A Straightforward Guide to the Social Services in Ohio

Rose Frech, Fellow
Kate Warren, Policy and Planning Associate
Calley Mersmann, Policy and Planning Associate
With support from the Research and Policy teams

Welcome to Human Services 101: A Straightforward Guide to the Social Services in Ohio. Our goal is to provide easy-to-understand, yet comprehensive, information on the social service systems that help Ohioans. Social services are crucial to reducing poverty, preventing hunger and homelessness, providing support to those with mental illness or addiction, helping people find and keep jobs, and caring for older adults and those with disabilities. However, these services and their funding are often complex and, subsequently, can be difficult for providers, advocates, volunteers, and consumers to understand. Increased knowledge on how these services work can enhance our ability to be informed citizens. Through this guide, The Center for Community Solutions seeks to provide straightforward descriptions of social service programs at the federal, state, and local levels, combined with interesting data, links, and facts for those who want to dig deeper.


Many will find that this document is an excellent companion to our state budget primer, “Financing Ohio’s Future,” which provides detailed information on state budget items impacting the health and human services. We hope you find these resources helpful in your work.

Access the full guide here.

We’ve also produced a series of short videos for each section of the guide, narrated by Community Solutions staff.

Human Services 101 Video Playlist