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Human Services

When public programs are likened to a “safety net”, people assume services exist only to catch those who fall. Framing helps broaden thinking.

Language has a powerful effect on how people think about fostering human wellbeing—and the level of investment in it. Common strategies—like defending the “safety net” and rebutting myths about benefits—create a cycle of bickering and budget cuts.

A new narrative can focus the public’s attention on the larger purpose of human services: to bring out the full potential of everyone in our society.

Explore how to change this conversation.

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Framing Child & Youth Development: A FrameWorks MessageBrief

The National Human Services Assembly (NHSA), an association of leading national nonprofit human services organizations, is in the process of “reframing” human services.


Talking Human Services: A FrameWorks MessageMemo

This study details an investigation into how communicators can reframe human services to fundamentally reshape public understanding of the sector’s work.


The Potency of Potential: Values to Bring Jacksonville Together to Support Children

In Jacksonville, FL, people think of children's issues as a private concern. Leading with human potential or civic potential helps drive a policy conversation.


Handed to Them on a Plate: Mapping the Gaps Between Expert and Public Understandings of Human Services

This study compares expert and public understandings of human services, yielding strategies that communicators can use to navigate and shift public thinking.


“Anyone Can Do It… Wake up, Rise up and Get Some Gumption”: Mapping the Gaps Between Expert and Public Understandings of Resilience and Developmental Outcomes

This report summarizes the findings of a multi-year study that sought to translate the science of early childhood development and the issue of resilience.


Changing Addiction from a “Sin Problem”: Peer Discourse Sessions on Addiction in Alberta

This research maps the public discourse that shapes how Albertans reason about issues of addiction and treatments that are seen as appropriate and effective.

Frame Testing Recommendations

Framing Early Child Development

This Message Brief offers the most essential considerations when framing early childhood issues.

Frame Testing Recommendations

Talking to Business Leaders About Early Childhood Development

This Message Brief offers advice for talking to business leaders about the importance of early childhood development.


By, or for, the People? A Meta-analysis of Public Opinion of Government

In this review of existing public opinion research, FrameWorks sought to understand the shape of public attitudes toward government.


Framing Community Health as if Food and Fitness Mattered

This message memo synthesizes our research and recommends strategies to communicate more effectively about community health issues, such as food and fitness.

Frame Testing Recommendations

How to Talk About Food, Fitness, and Community Health

This Message Brief distills strategies for framing issues like obesity, fitness, and nutrition from a social determinants of health perspective.


Fostering a Systematic View of Food and Fitness through Metaphor

What metaphors help people see food and fitness as systemic issues, not just lifestyle choices? This study weighs the effects of different comparisons - and finds that some offer more food for...