Partners is an accredited Children's Advocacy Center. We coordinate investigations and interventions with medical, mental health, education, social welfare, judicial, law enforcement and advocacy professionals and agencies to ensure the focus remains on the needs of abused and neglected children and their families. This synergy brings healthy outcomes to vulnerable children and families and justice to perpetrators.
On September 23 rd , Washington State Department of Social and Health Services presented their proposed budget reductions. As part of the proposed reductions, DSHS announced that they would eliminate all funding to the Washington State Children's Advocacy Centers (CAC). Currently the funding received through this funding source helps support Partners position of the Child Interview Specialist, Karen Winston; the Children's Legal Advocate, Stephanie Widhalm, an administrative assistant and the services of a RN. The new Executive Director of the State Association is none other than our own Mary Ann Murphy, who retired from Partners this past June. Mary Ann's position is now being threatened as well.
In addition to the reduction of the state wide funding DSHS has also proposed to eliminate the Continuum of Care line item so carefully preserved for this community by Senator Lisa Brown. The funding received by Partners through this source also helps support our medical team of child abuse experts, an administrative assistant and helps to cover the overhead costs associated with the Center.
Partners respectfully requests that you contact your area legislators to alert them regarding what will occur to your organization and the community if Partners' and other state CACs lose this vital funding. I have attached a template which I hope you may find helpful in this education process and contact information for Spokane County's legislators.
Thank you for any and all assistance and support you may be able to lend Partners.