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Policy Committee Meeting Notes


Meeting Notes: June 8, 2018

It was suggested that we try posting a more informal blog of our meeting, rather than the usual minutes. Please let us know if this is a better way to capture the free-flowing discussion and flavor of our meetings. Note: Sonoma County ACEs Connection is referred to as “SCAC” to save typing.

Members attending were Alison Lobb, Lena Hoffman and Allen Nishikawa. Karen Clemmer was unable to attend but had forwarded some helpful links and information to members. Our numbers were small, but the discussion was very involved!

State Legislative Updates - Alison has agreed to develop and update a matrix of relevant pending State legislation. We decided that the matrix should be posted on our website, so that members can check it at any time. This is needed because legislation moves on a not always predictable timetable, and the need for public input may arise with short notice. The matrix should also include links to our legislators. Alison said she would try to have the information posted by next month. If other members wish to be involved in this project, contact Alison,

In addition, the Committee will also report at our regular meetings, highlighting as needed, specific pieces of legislation, and/or noting urgent upcoming actions. It was also recommended that we ask the Steering Committee to have SCAC formally become a member of the California Coalition to Counter Childhood Adversity (4CA), the group which has sponsored yearly policymaker education efforts on ACEs and trauma and improving services for children and families.

Policymakers Education Day, Sacramento, May 22, 2018 – Lena and Allen reported on the event at last month’s general meeting, so this was mostly an opportunity to comment on our own “takeaways” about the event.

Lena noted that several staff suggested also talking to the legislator’s staff in the local field office. This might be easier for some members to attend than an all-day excursion to Sacramento and would give us an opportunity to build a relationship with a staff person. We should consider building long-term relationships with legislators, not just advocating for specific pieces of legislation,

Allen remarked on the large number of other ACEs groups that had the word “Resilient” in their name, which informs our own discussion about whether our name should reflect the “problem” of ACEs or the “solution” of resilience. His takeaway was that we should be talking more with these other ACEs groups, sharing resources, ideas and lessons learned.

Presentation of the “Pair of ACEs” Model – Allen recommends that we develop & show a “Pair of ACEs” presentation to the general membership. It would serve three purposes: 1.) inform those members who may be unfamiliar with the model, 2.) get feedback from members to improve the final presentation to the Board of Supervisors, and 3.) set the stage for a discussion about SCAC’s role in addressing the broader issues of both adverse childhood experiences and adverse community environments. Allen will work on the Powerpoint and Lena will work on ways to solicit input and participation from the audience. The hope will be to present this at the June general meeting.

Engaging Members – One of the goals of the Committee is to offer members different ways to be engaged in the issue of ACEs and trauma. Most members are engaged on a professional level, but involvement in legislative activities allows them to wear their “concerned citizen” hat. Keeping abreast of legislation online keeps members involved that might not be able to attend the meetings.

Lena recounted that Jessica, our Co-Chair, mentioned at the last meeting that changing policy at the local school board level could help advance change in schools. The members discussed whether the Policy Committee should look at the issue of whether members wanted to get involved in local school boards. SCAC could provide technical support by offering presenters to talk about ACEs or researching model trauma-informed school policies. Some school board members may be up for election later this year and asking for their thoughts on the impact of trauma on the education system could be very informative. This would give members the chance to look at local ACEs issues wearing their “concerned parent” hat.

Next Policy Meeting – July 13, 2018, Café de Croissants 8-9 am. Everyone welcome. Hope to see you there!

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Allen, Alison & Lena - You guys are awesome! 

Allen, these notes are great!!  The ideas and strategies you outlined have the potential to nudge real systems change!  Incorporating adverse community experiences, along with ACEs - is very timely - on many levels. 

Speaking of systems change - some may be interested to know that the CDPH Essentials for Childhood Initiative leadership is starting an effort to push toward having California become a "trauma informed state" (details TBD).  Some statewide and regional funders are aligning with this effort and incorporating a requirement for a trauma-informed elements in their RFPs.  Helping local folks and organizations align with these statewide efforts could also help them be better positioned for future funding opportunities.  

For SCAC members who have a specific area of interest or passion - it appears the Board of Supervisor has vacancies on several Boards and Commissions including: Commission on Human Rights, Commission on the Status of Women, Childcare Planning Council, Advisory Council to the Area Agency on Aging, Health Action Council, MCAH Advisory Board, Mental Health Board, Upstream Investments Policy Committee - to name a few. The Application process is usually fairly straight forward.  Members on the various Boards and Commissions are required to advise the BOS on key issues.  Each year a Report is provided that outlines the work of the various Boards and Commissions.  SCAC members are uniquely situated  to bring ACEs, trauma, resilience into conversations with influential people and groups.  

Sometimes there is concern about speaking with elected officials.  The attached document provides clarification regarding the difference between providing education verses making a specific legislative request.  For me, this document was helpful. 

Circling back to SCAC's presentation to the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors - is there a specific "ask" that will be articulated during the presentation?  It could be a great opportunity to further nudge systems level change.  

Please let me know how ACEs Connection can continue to support these efforts! You guys are awesome!!


Thanks for your comments Karen! Having served on an advisory board myself, I really like your suggestion of folks joining county advisory boards as a way to start addressing trauma in the community. It's a great way to see what needs to happen behind the scenes in order for agencies to actually implement trauma-informed approaches.

Thanks also for modelling the kind of response this new approach was hoping to elicit. Folks usually just read minutes, but we were hoping that members who weren't at the meeting would read this and want to chime in and add to the discussion! The old style minutes just don't capture the energy and enthusiasm of the group! 

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