Area Administration Functions

Area Administration (you may hear them referred to as "Area Admin" for short) links DHS with local county human service agencies in a broad range of program areas.  Staff are located in four regional offices and work on an ongoing basis with program divisions throughout DHS. They also coordinate with other departments including the Department of Children and Families (DCF), the Department of Workforce Development (DWD), and the Department of Corrections (DOC).

Here is a general overview of what functions they serve:

  • Administrator of the annual DHS State-County Contract and other contracts with local agencies. 
  • Provide ongoing consultation and technical assistance to counties.
  • Provide oversight of local human service programs.
  • Identify issues or concerns from the local perspective, assist DHS management in resolution.
  • Facilitate communication and coordination between counties and DHS.
  • Represent DHS on statewide, regional, and local workgroups and ongoing committees.

Contract Administrator

As the State/County Consolidated Contract Administrator for DHS, the regional Area Administrators are responsible for assuring program implementation and quality assurance for human services administered by DHS. Programs include mental health and substance abuse services; Medical Assistance and Food Share eligibility, benefits and funding; services for children with disabilities and adult protective services. AA staff facilitate coordination with DCF, DWD, and DOC on overlapping issues where necessary. AA staff has a wide variety of responsibilities related to both program & fiscal issues as Contract Administrator. They are viewed by counties as the primary liaisons for DHS programming.

Consultation and Technical Assistance

Area Administration staff provide leadership, consultation on issues such as development of program outcomes and outcome based contracts, system development, quality improvement, and implementation of state initiatives and policies. Area Administration staff also coordinate training and technical assistance to local human service agencies on administrative and program issues that are identified through regular meetings, local county visits and ongoing communication with county managers and staff in the region. 

Program Oversight and Monitoring

Area Administration staff participate in program oversight across all program areas. As part of the oversight responsibility, they provide technical assistance in developing and implementing corrective action plans when necessary.  AA staff investigate and mediate consumer complaints relating to county services or actions, interacting with consumers, legislators, and agencies who raise complaints or concerns to DHS.  AA regional office staff are the central intake for complaints about county human services.  Resolution of complaints often involves working with county staff to improve services and/or programming.

Issue Identification

One of the key functions of Area Administration staff is to identify issues or concerns from the local perspective for DHS management and assist in resolution. Local issues are identified in a variety of ways including local monitoring, regional meetings, contacts from counties, and complaint investigations. The Area Administration Director attends the monthly Wisconsin County Human Services Association Executive Board meeting as the DHS representative and prepares a summary of the meeting for DHS management, following up directly with individual Administrators or Bureau Directors with specific issues of concern. Local issues or concerns are shared regularly with central office managers and staff through regular meetings and conference calls with DHS program divisions and bureaus. AA staff also helps to identify local and regional training needs and facilitates training events.

Facilitate Coordination and Communication

One of the Area Administration functions is facilitating coordination and communication between counties and DHS. AA staff support multi-county collaboration and regional service delivery systems across program areas. Regional service systems can improve efficiencies and access to programming for consumers.  AA staff provide leadership in program development and implementation to better meet consumer needs while maximizing local resources and reducing duplication across program areas. AA staff play an important role in leading initiatives that cross multiple program areas, bringing together representatives from multiple divisions, departments and local agencies to meet the need of individuals and families. 

Statewide Representation for DHS

Area Administration staff regularly represent DHS on statewide, regional, and local workgroups or committees. Staff serve on the Children Come First Advisory Committee, DHS Emergency Government response teams, and Income Maintenance Advisory Committees to name a few. They also represent DHS on a variety of regional and local workgroups or committees. AA staff have a broad range of program knowledge and responsibility and are known throughout Wisconsin localities, they are often called upon to represent DHS programming or serve on local committees or workgroups.

For more information about Area Administration please contact:

Julie Anstett, Director
Area Administration
1 West Wilson Street
Madison, WI  53703
(608) 261-8342

Last Revised: October 2, 2018