By Will Cushman
In 2012, Waupaca County’s health and human services department was hemorrhaging employees, particularly within its child protection and juvenile justice programs. “There was just a lot of turnover,” said Chuck Price, who took over as director of the department around that time. “We needed a culture of change.” Price and his colleague, deputy director Shannon Kelly, recalled a culture that seemed to place a higher value on bureaucratic outcomes than on fostering positive human connections. Such a mindset was not unique to Waupaca County, they added. Rather, it reflected a distinctly harsh form of human services that, in their view, had been baked into public agencies nationwide over decades.