Councilmember Brandon Todd (D-Ward 4) introduced two bills before the DC Council: one that would establish an Adverse Childhood Experience Health Task Force, and a second that would create a Strategic Plan for the growth of DC’s senior population.
The “Adverse Childhood Experiences Task Force Act of 2018” would establish a specialized Task Force to identify evidence-based solutions that reduce children’s exposure to adverse childhood experiences. Adverse childhood experiences, or “ACEs,” are stressful or traumatic events in a child’s life that are strongly related to the development of a wide range of health problems. The Task Force, compromised of both public and private sector individuals, would make recommendations on ways to address the impacts of ACEs. It would also recommend investments in preventative health care, mental health, and wellness interventions, and report findings to the Mayor and the Council.
“As our city sees unprecedented growth, and the quality of life continues to improve, we must be cognizant of the structural barriers that hold back disadvantaged populations and contribute to growing inequality in the District,” said Councilmember Todd. “Adverse Childhood Experiences – one of the most deeply-rooted structural barriers – range from physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, to a home environment that includes substance abuse, domestic violence, or absent parents. ACEs perpetuate risky health behaviors, chronic health conditions, low life potential, and early death. A whopping 47% of DC children and teens have experienced a traumatic event. This Task Force will help prevent adverse experiences from occurring and target interventions to those who have already suffered, helping improve the lives of our neediest, most vulnerable residents.”
The “Senior Strategic Plan Amendment Act of 2018” would require the Office on Aging to develop a ten-year Senior Strategic Plan that will serve as a long-term blueprint for managing and responding to the growth of the District’s senior population. The plan would aggregate all local data available on seniors and create a collection method to provide consistent records. It would also require assessments of: current housing options, transportation methods, employment and education opportunities, and elder abuse in the District; current services provided by the Office on Aging, Department of Health, Department of Human Services, and other agencies that provide services for seniors; current federal funding, national and local grants that the District is eligible for, and funding that has been obtained in previous years; and the Office of Aging’s communications strategy.
“As the Baby Boomers continue to retire, the District’s senior population is expected to rise from the current 16.2% to well over 20% by 2030,” said Councilmember Todd. “Seniors have unique needs, and as the senior population grows, it is incumbent upon our government to have a strategic understanding of how we will meet those needs. Currently, we do not know what we do not know. The development of this strategic plan will be critical to building on the Office of Aging’s and the Age Friendly Task Force’s excellent work, and would provide additional support so they can take a fresh look, a deeper dive, and a new approach to what it means to age in place.”