November 01, 2019 Council on Reform Submits Recommendations for the Protection of Vulnerable Populations to Gov. Wolf SHARE Email Facebook Twitter Press Release Harrisburg, PA – Today, Governor Tom Wolf’s Council on Reform, established through his Protection of Vulnerable Populations Executive Order 2019-05, submitted its recommendations for improving the state’s systems to protect its most vulnerable individuals and families.In late July, Gov. Wolf charged this diverse group of community leaders, providers, stakeholders, and cabinet members with taking a comprehensive look at needs to best serve the state’s vulnerable populations with a mandate to report those recommendations back to him by Nov. 1.“I took action in July to address long-standing issues with the state’s systems designed to protect our most vulnerable,” Gov. Wolf said. “The first task for the newly formed Council on Reform was to buckle down and develop a comprehensive list of recommendations for how we can best protect vulnerable Pennsylvanians.“My thanks to all of the council members who shared their expertise and considerable time, and to those who participated by meeting with council members or submitting information and recommendations. Your tireless commitment to this process demonstrates your passion for protecting all Pennsylvanians, especially our most vulnerable. I look forward to reading and analyzing these recommendations and to our next steps to make much-needed changes.”The 25-member council held its first meeting immediately following the governor’s announcement. In determining its charter and scope, the council defined populations and subpopulations, established committees, and adopted values.The council determined it would look at protecting vulnerable populations from three perspectives with a separate committee for each: prevention and diversion, protection and intervention, and justice and support.Populations were broken out by age with subpopulations to ensure vulnerabilities unique to each were considered:Ages 0-17Subpopulations – African Americans, Asian American & Pacific Islanders, Latinos, LGBTQ+ children, young women, children experiencing mental illness, children with intellectual disabilities/autism, children with physical/sensory disabilities, delinquent children, and dependent childrenAges 18-59Subpopulations – African Americans, Asian American & Pacific Islanders, Latinos, LGBTQ+ adults, veterans, women, adults experiencing mental illness, adults with intellectual disabilities/autism, adults with physical/sensory disabilities, adults with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia, and domestic violence victimsAges 60+Subpopulations – African Americans, Asian American & Pacific Islanders, Latinos, LGBTQ+ seniors, women, veterans, seniors experiencing mental illness, seniors with intellectual disabilities/autism, seniors with physical/sensory disabilities, seniors with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia, and domestic violence victimsThe council recommended two overarching goals for Pennsylvania to better protect vulnerable populations:• Empower and strengthen the workforce serving vulnerable populations by providing comprehensive training, livable salaries and benefits, and support for staff experiencing vicarious trauma.• Empower communities and vulnerable populations by ensuring access to services for all Pennsylvanians and conducting culturally appropriate and diverse outreach efforts.The council adopted values they believe to be relevant to protecting and serving vulnerable populations – these values are reflected throughout the recommendations:Cultural Competence – Recognizing and honoring diversityPerson-Centered Approach – Focusing on the individual’s best interestCommunity Engagement – Hearing from vulnerable populations, families, experts, and stakeholdersContext & Awareness – Understanding current environment and avoiding past failingsTrauma-Informed – Utilizing trauma-informed approaches across all systemsWorkforce Empowerment – Ensuring the workforce is equipped and supportedMembers heard from a wide array of existing oversight and advisory bodies, stakeholders, legislators, and constituents. Information was provided through in-person meetings, letters, emails, and a webform that council members distributed to their networks. These contributors provide recommendations for the council to consider and essential insight and context to ensure the council was fully informed. Many council members also served on advisory bodies connected to this work.The council compiled the recommendations submitted by others along with recommendations from existing reports and assigned them to the appropriate committee for review and consideration. Committee members reviewed all that was submitted, identified common trends, eliminated duplication, and developed new recommendations.After committees finalized their lists of recommendations, themes were identified that spanned all populations and committees. The result is the comprehensive list of recommendations presented to Gov. Wolf today.The council advised Gov. Wolf that it “fully recognizes the funding implications of the recommendations that have been developed and the substantial amount of time and work it takes to carry out these recommendations. It is our hope that Pennsylvania will rise to the occasion and put its best effort into driving this much needed change – our most vulnerable are counting on it.”The council asked that the governor direct the appropriate agencies, organizations, branches of government, and advisory bodies to carry out the recommendations he would like to move forward.As the council carried out its process, they believed more could be done to engage with constituents. To achieve this, the council added an online public comment form available today through Dec. 16.
The newly merged entity has combined pensions savings of RUB177.3bn (€2.45bn), reserves of RUB8.3bn, a clientele of more than 2.265m in the mandatory second pillar and 75,800 covered in voluntary pensions.The deal propels Safmar into fourth place in terms of pensions savings and fifth in terms of second-pillar clients.The company told IPE it expected the reorganisation of Doverie, the group’s fifth NPF, to start next year.Other financial groups are also in the process of consolidating their pension funds to achieve economies of scale.In August, Gazfond announced that it was planning a merger with the three NPFs in the Alor Group – KIT Finance, Promagrofond and Naslediye (Heritage).This transaction would make it the biggest in terms of savings and members, displacing the current market leader Sberbank.Russia’s compulsory pensions system had, at the end of June, savings of RUB2,023bn and a membership of 29.93m, according to CBR data.While savings grew by 17.6% since the start of the year, and members by 13.7%, the number of funds licensed to provide second-pillar coverage fell by 10 to 55, of which 46 were members of the Deposit Insurance Agency.While some had their licences annulled by the CBR for various violations – six in June alone – consolidation is likely to be the main force for falling numbers.Last month, Vladimir Chistyukhin, a deputy governor of the CBR, told Russian television he expected this process to bring the number of DIA-guaranteed funds to 30. Consolidation continues to drive down the number of Russian non-state pension funds (NPFs) providing compulsory pensions insurance.On 6 September, Safmar announced the completion of its merger with the European, Regionfond and Education and Science pension funds, all part of the Safmar Financial Group (formerly the BIN Group).Safmar itself is the renamed Raiffeisen NPF, which BIN acquired from the Austrian parent bank in October 2015.The merger process started this year, receiving approval from the Federal Antimonopoly Service of the Russian Federation in May, and from the Bank of Russia (CBR), the pensions regulator, in August.