House Committee Passes Murt Bill to Change Department Name to ‘Human Services’

HARRISBURG—The House Human Services Committee has voted to approve legislation sponsored by Rep. Tom Murt to change the name of the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) to the Department of Human Services.

“This is a victory for the dignity of everyone who has relied on the department for their health and well-being,” Murt said. “More than 90 percent of DPW activities are for health and human services. The agency’s mission is to promote, improve and sustain the quality of family life, break the cycle of dependency and protect and serve Pennsylvanian’s most vulnerable citizens. Only one of the department’s seven program offices deals with what one would consider welfare.”

The legislation would phase in the name change to limit the costs of the alteration.

“Pennsylvania is the only state to call its human services ‘welfare,’” Murt said. “It’s time that we sync up with the other 49 states and our own 67 counties which have eliminated the term ‘welfare.’”

Murt acknowledges that a name change alone will not change a culture, but it is a means to an end.

“If we want a department that truly places a priority on helping Pennsylvanians live more meaningful, independent lives, then change the name to reflect the mission,” Murt said. “If we want to reduce or eliminate welfare in Pennsylvania, let’s start with the name.”

The bill now moves to the whole House for consideration.

Representative Thomas P. Murt
152nd District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: David Foster
267.207.0207 /
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