"No services are being eliminated, said Suzy Sonnier.
The meeting was organized by state Rep. Fred Mills, who is a member of the House Health and Welfare Committee.
Sonnier said the two entities, the Office of Family Support and the Office of Community Services, will merge into one, but since they are both located in the same building -- at 1109 S. Main St. -- it should not impose an inconvenience on anyone.
To the contrary, Sonnier said, DSS hopes to improve services by making all its services available at one office with a cross-trained staff able to assist with any of the wide range of programs administered by the state, from food stamps to help with adoptions.
Louisiana is a pioneer in offering many social services but it is lagging behind other states in modernization, she said.
"We do everything by paper," Sonnier said. "You ought to see our offices."
DSS currently has 165 offices around the state. Not every parish has one while some parishes have several. And they tend to be either OFS offices, administering food stamps, child care assistance and the like, or OCS, dealing in matters like child protection and foster care.
"How do people know what offices to go to," Sonnier said.
Part of the new look of OSS will be a toll-free number and a Web site where application can be made without traveling to an office and waiting in line.
The department also plans partner with local agencies and organizations that will have applications available, or offer the use of phones or computers to make application, or even have case workers to help with the processes.
"This is a new day of delivering services but we want to keep our traditions in St. Martin Parish," said Rep. Mills, who promised to stay involved as the changes are put into effect.
"This is still on the drawing board," he said.
There are 4,500 recipients of DSS services in St. Martin Parish, Mills said.