Innovation in State-Level Veterans Services: A Comprehensive Review, Case Highlights, and an Agenda for Enhanced State Impact

This report provides a comprehensive analysis of all 50 states. It gives insight into leading practices in veteran service delivery, describes how innovative policy is diffusing across state governments, and highlights ten of the top states in providing services to veterans at the state level.

Download the full report: Innovation in State-Level Veterans Services: A Comprehensive Review, Case Highlights, and an Agenda for Enhanced State Impact

Organizational Findings

  1. Leadership Continuity. The Director has been in their position for three or more years.
  2. Diversity of Work Experience. The Director had civilian work experience outside of the DVA.
  3. Federal Funding Stability. Federal funding to the DVA has decreased each year by no more than 10% in four of the past five years.
  4. Independence. The DVA is a standalone agency not absorbed into a broader department such as Military Affairs.
  5. Political Engagement 1. The Director sits on the Governor’s cabinet.
  6. Political Engagement 2. The Director reports directly to the Governor.
  7. State General Funds Stability. State General Funds received by the DVA have decreased by no more than 10% each year four out of the past five years.
  8. State Special Fund Stability. State General Funds received by the DVA have decreased by no more than 10% each year four out of the past five years.

Findings on Financial Stability

  • State spending per veteran varies greatly depending on a state’s size and veteran population. However, these are not the only factors that determine funding as some state’s with more efficient programming spend less per veteran even with large populations
  • State’s that combined their departments of veterans affairs and military affairs had larger budgets, but much of the funding usually doesn’t go to veteran service deliver
  • Diversity of funding sources is crucial for DVA success. Diversity in funding sources enables reliability and consistency in funding
  • Reliable funding is equally important as it allows leaders to make long-term policy plans and set priorities to align service delivery with other state service providers

Service Delivery Findings

  • Coordination with other state government and nongovernmental service providers in the state to align service priorities and help veterans more efficiently navigate services as well as broaden the scope of services available
  • Specialized and tailored communications and outreach strategies
  • Strategic planning that engages other state service providers to develop a long-term strategy aligned with other stakeholders in the state
  • Adopt innovative practices from other states by engaging nationally in conversations around best practices

 

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