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DHS Mission, Core Values, and Service Philosophy

Our Mission

To offer temporary economic assistance, work opportunities, and protective services to improve the lives of Tennesseans.

Our Vision

The Department’s vision is to be a leader in effectively partnering with human service customers in establishing or re-establishing self-sufficiency to create a better quality of life.

Our Core Values

  • Mission Driven
  • Customer Focused
  • Respect & Integrity
  • Compassion
  • Accountability & Responsibility

Tennessee Department of Human Services will:

  • Maintain the trust of our customers, partners, and the public by demonstrating excellence in service delivery, results, and effective fiscal stewardship.
  • Operate from a strength perspective.
  • Operate in a manner that reflects the importance of public-private partnerships in human service.
  • Maintain ongoing efforts to be a learning organization.
  • Be transparent, agile, innovative, and responsive.
  • Engage employees and customers as strategic partners.
  • Recruit, retain, and reward high performing employees.

Tennessee Department of Human Services Adheres to a Strength Perspective

  • Every individual, group, family, and community has strengths.
  • Trauma and abuse, illness and struggle may be injurious but they may also be sources of challenge and opportunity.
  • Assume that you don’t know the upper limits of the capacity to grow and change and take individual, group, and community aspirations seriously.
  • We best serve clients by collaborating with them.
  • Every environment is full of resources

The Strengths Perspective in Social Work Practice by Dennis Saleebey


Tennessee Department of Human Services Adheres to the Disciplines of a Learning Organization

Shared Vision: A common purpose and atmosphere of excitement and enthusiasm regarding the vision and direction of the organization. The organization provides mechanisms for people to connect their personal vision to the organizational vision.

Systems Thinking:  A smooth and open flow of information which sends a message of inter-relatedness between all parts of the organization and how each part has an impact on the other parts of the organization.

Mental Models: The organization provides a supportive environment, which encourages people to think about, interpret and characterize situations and circumstances. People then review and revise appropriately their own views, beliefs, values, and biases in a "critical thinking" and more creative fashion.

Team Learning: Based on the foundation of Personal Mastery and Shared Vision, this component focuses a great deal on interpersonal skills and effective communication. People learn from and teach each other in an atmosphere of open dialogue, flexible mental models and conflict resolution.

Personal Mastery: Every member of the organization operates as a continual learner. Staff members are empowered to stretch and broaden their comfort zones to realize their potential.

The Fifth Discipline, Peter Senge