Dear Canton Residents,
The Board of Selectman is working to improve the services we provide to our seniors, youth, and residents in need of assistance. This project has been underway for the past year since we formed the Senior Social Services Strategic Planning Committee and started collecting data on the needs of the town. A survey was sent out last year inviting input from the community and focus groups were conducted with the help of an outside consultant. We have often spoken of the senior center/social services population as one group however, our data shows that the overlap is very small; approximately 8% of members at the Senior Center are receiving support from social services. Our Youth Services have been completely served by volunteers and have had not had the professional support they need from the Town. These facts plus personnel changes resulting from the resignation of the previous Director of the department are creating an opportunity to start making changes now to move toward improvements in these areas. The Strategic Planning Committee will take another 12-18 months to complete a long term vision for the Town but we can take action now to start on a path that will better serve all three of these populations
The full proposal under consideration can be viewed at www.townofcantonct.org
1- Create separate departments for the Senior Center and Social Services each with their own dedicated staff rather than sharing staff as in the past which created conflicts for time and funding.
2- Provide additional staffing and dedicated space in the Community Center for a Senior Center where older adults can come together for programs that respond to their diverse interests and support their independence. This department would be placed under the umbrella of Parks and Recreation Department so they can utilize existing software for sign up of activities and accounting structures to allow fees paid by seniors for trips and activities to be used for future programs.
3- Provide dedicated space for Social Services in Town Hall to provide privacy for meeting with staff or social worker and a central location for program information for families, seniors, and youth. This provides space for confidential meetings and appropriate record keeping. It also provides for the dignity of residents seeking assistance so that they do not have to wait in line with other residents signing up for trips or activities.
While these changes do not accomplish everything the Community has asked for, it responds to many of the concerns while working within the current budget. It provides a structure that serves the entire Community and can respond as the Town grows and changes. While I always welcome your comments and feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org, I encourage you to attend the Special Town Meeting where your questions can be answered and we will vote on the proposed new positions and hours. Join us on July 24, 2019 at 7pm in the Multi-Purpose Rooom of the Communicty Center, 40 Dyer Ave. Hope to see you there!