City to create taskforce to address social services needs
While the city regularly researches and creates new plans to tackle the evolving needs of the community regarding things like transportation and other services, Sandy has never had a social services master plan.
Until now. Last year, Sandy resident and Portland State University student Maggie Gilman Holm offered to create a strategic social services plan as a school project, seeing the need for the implementation of resources in Sandy to be more intentional.
"Today more than ever, we need to find innovative and productive ways to tackle complex issues residents are facing," Gilman Holm told Sandy City Council Monday, July 6. "We started our research looking at the root causes of some of our most complicated challenges such as homelessness, addiction, mental health challenges and domestic violence."
Gilman Holm went on to explain that adverse childhood experiences, such as abuse, neglect or a dysfunctional household setting often play a significant role in these challenges into adulthood, indirectly impacting the community and pulling on community resources.
According to data presented by Gilman Holm, 19.5% of adults in Clackamas County have experienced four or more adverse childhood experiences, and the county, overall, spent and lost $166,119,492 in 2019 alone to address needs produced as a result of child abuse, such as criminal justice, child welfare, special education, health care and productivity loss.
"Not dealing with issues of trauma is extremely costly to the public," Gilman Holm said.
Gilman Holm recommended the city create a task force comprised of leaders of the community and relevant community members to target social services needed to make Sandy a more "resilient" community and let them help shape the social services plan.
City Manager Jordan Wheeler has already been discussing next steps of the plan with Gilman Holm.
"That is the next big step — moving forward with a list of potential stakeholders and a recruitment strategy to fill out the task force," Wheeler said. "The approach on this is actually brilliant in the sense that cities don't really have a lot of expertise in this area. We have data (and) we obviously have services that interact with individuals with trauma or (issues) caused by trauma. In terms of expertise in our staff and our specific services, there's not a lot of that. But to create a task force from already pre-existing community leaders and their organizations that have that experience to form this group and then draft this plan is a really smart approach."
He added that leveraging community expertise will help the city avoid over-tasking city staff and resources besides creating a productive partnership.
A formal proposal of the taskforce creation process has yet to come before Sandy City Council.
To view Gilman Holm's presentation on the strategic social services plan, visit bit.ly/Sandysocialservices.
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