Children’s Safety Levy Update
You may have already learned that the voters of Clackamas County have missed an opportunity to help vulnerable children and youth throughout the county by not passing the Clackamas Children’s Safety Levy (Measure 3-564). Please see the press release below for more information on community leaders’ reaction and vision for the future.
Along with the Safe Kids Coalition of Clackamas County, of which we are a member, Children’s Center wants to thank the many people who worked diligently to support this measure; including many of our staff, board members, and supporters.
We want to send our support and gratitude to the broad coalition of service providers, business leaders, elected officials, advocates, faith communities, culturally-specific providers, and individuals with lived experience of child abuse and neglect, domestic violence, and childhood trauma who are also feeling disappointed by this outcome.
Regardless of this setback, the Children’s Center remains focused on our core mission which is to work with the community to end child abuse and neglect through assessment, treatment, and prevention.
We remain a source of support resources and a place where healing begins for families and children in Clackamas County who are hurting.
The article below has been reposted here with permission from the Yes for Clackamas Kids Campaign. For more information, please contact:
Dan Lombardi, Communications Director
Yes for Clackamas Kids
CLACKAMAS COUNTY VOTERS REJECT CHILDREN’S SAFETY LEVY (Measure 3-564)
County voters say no to creating a stable and increased funding source for local nonprofits to provide support services to vulnerable children and youth
Oregon City, Ore. — The voters of Clackamas County missed an opportunity to help vulnerable children and youth throughout the county by not passing the Clackamas Children’s Safety Levy (Measure 3-564). The measure, placed on the ballot in mid-August by the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners, was specifically designed to create a designated stable funding source for local nonprofit organizations that work with children and youth who are survivors of violence, abuse, and neglect.
“After 10 years of hard work, this is definitely not the result we were looking for. We are disappointed that a majority of voters were influenced by the anti-Metro transportation tax campaign and didn’t fully recognize the critical need for increased children’s safety services right here in Clackamas County,” said Melissa Erlbaum, Executive Director of Clackamas Women’s Services. “As disheartening as this is, we will get right back to work providing proven and trusted support services to our vulnerable children and families – knowing that we’ll have to work even harder to meet the increased need that this ongoing pandemic and economic downturn has brought upon our communities.”
Clackamas Women’s Services is a member of the the Safe Kids Coalition of Clackamas County – a growing alliance of service providers, business leaders, elected officials, advocates, faith communities, and culturally-specific providers, as well as people with lived experience of child abuse and neglect, domestic violence, and trauma experienced as children and youth. This broad coalition was a key driver in this campaign – helping to spread awareness throughout communities across Clackamas County. The coalition also includes organizations like Children’s Center, CASA of Clackamas County, Northwest Family Services, and Parrott Creek Child & Family Services.
“We have been honored to be part of this campaign and it’s hard to have worked so hard and not be able to make this levy a reality for the children and youth of Clackamas County,” said Simon Fulford, Parrott Creek’s Executive Director. “We still believe that Clackamas County can band together to help our most vulnerable residents. Moving forward without these added resources, we will need to get creative, because the need for children’s safety services is still critical and is not something we can wait to address.”
The increased need for these services continues to grow as we are still enduring a global pandemic, an economic downturn, and the aftermath of raging wildfires. Increased child abuse has been confirmed by local law enforcement officials that have witnessed a dramatic increase in domestic violence incidents throughout Clackamas County – many of which involve families with young children living in the home. These same law enforcement professionals understand the need for quality wraparound services that aim to help kids heal and recover from their trauma.
This is a disappointing result for the vulnerable children and families of Clackamas County,” said Clackamas County District Attorney-elect John Wentworth. “The levy was a crucial opportunity to end cycles of trauma, making sure that the kids in our community can stay out of the criminal justice system and instead thrive into adulthood.”
Now that the measure has failed, the county and local nonprofits will be tasked with figuring out how to ensure that children and youth throughout the county will get access to critical support services when they need them.
“While this issue didn’t get the attention of the presidential election, it was every bit as important to the children affected and was a missed opportunity to change thousands of young lives for the better,” said Clackamas County Commissioner Sonya Fischer. “This cannot be the end of our commitment to our children’s future. It must be a wakeup call for our community to come together in more creative and committed ways.”