Report highlights human services needs for county

Maricopa County has experienced remarkable population growth for decades, and will continue to do so. But while expanding metro areas tend to pay close attention to physical infrastructure—diligently budgeting for roads, sewers, schools and the like—there is often a relative lack of attention to meeting the future demands for human services.<br /><br />Greater Phoenix Forward, a new report by Arizona State University’s College of Public Programs and the Morrison Institute for Public Policy, aims to help fill that gap. It offers community and policy leaders and human services practitioners the latest data and new perspectives for understanding the Valley’s human services infrastructure and a “big picture” of future needs. To view the report, visit <a href="">… /><br />“The number of Greater Phoenix residents who will need various human services is very likely to grow faster than the workforce and fiscal resources—and maybe the political will—needed to serve them,” said Debra Friedman, University Vice President and Dean of the College of Public Programs. <br /><br />Part one of a three-phase project, Greater Phoenix Forward seeks to help guide public policy decisions based on sound research, objective analyses, and public discourse. It contains:<br />• Data describing human services structures and functions in Maricopa County<br />• Trends for the populations who provide and use these services<br />• Analyses of how to sustain the present level and quality of human services<br />• A glimpse of how current service trends could play out by 2012<br />• A presentation of critical policy challenges for the future <br /><br />Phase two will include discussions between authors of the report and Arizona policy makers, executives of human services-providing organizations, leading human services practitioners and community leaders. In the third phase, the authors and College administrators will become resources to public, nonprofit and private sector leaders as they shape and implement plans and investments to address the challenges that lie ahead. <br /><br />Relying on the expertise from throughout ASU’s College of Public Programs, Greater Phoenix Forward analyzes 12 critically important topics, including children and families, poverty, substance abuse, and Latinos. The report points out that human services form a major economic sector in terms of both the clients they serve and the jobs they provide. Indeed, the human- service sector comprises the third-largest “industry” in Arizona. <br /><br />Each chapter also sets its sights on 2012 and identifies trends occurring now that will shape Maricopa County’s future. Greater Phoenix Forward identifies the populations that depend on human services—noting that these include Valley residents at all income levels, as well as tourists, recreationists, the young and the elderly. Finally, as a call to action for public policy, the report poses five key policy challenges facing Arizona leaders. <br /><br />Major support for Greater Phoenix Forward was provided by Valley of the Sun United Way and the City of Phoenix, with additional funding from Alcoa Foundation, SRP, APS, and Downtown Phoenix Partnership. The report was produced by the Morrison Institute for Public Policy. <br /><br />The College of Public Programs at ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus embraces students and faculty dedicated to rigorous education and research in the service of social and economic change. The College includes the Schools of Community Resources &amp; Development, Public Affairs, and Social Work. <br /><br />For information about Greater Phoenix Forward, contact Deb Gullett at (602) 496-0409.</p>