SMH Domestic Violence Program Honored By King County

Contact: Steve McLean
Communications Director
(206) 302-2261

Unique, one-of-a kind program uses collaboration to successfully help survivors of domestic violence

SEATTLE – Sept. 23, 2013 – After years of ground-breaking work helping survivors of domestic violence, a Sound Mental Health program is being honored by King County in a late September ceremony. The program, the Children’s Domestic Violence Response Team (CDVRT), will receive an Exemplary Service Award from the King County Mental Health, Chemical Abuse and Dependency Services Division, for outstanding contributions to providing integrated and advance care for survivors of domestic violence.

The award ceremony, which will recognize other social services agencies in the region, takes place at St. Mark’s Cathedral on Sept. 26, 2013.

The seven-year-old CDVRT program, the only of its kind in the region, is based on a unique and painstaking collaboration between mental health and domestic violence agencies, working hand in hand to provide mental health services to survivors of domestic violence and their children in a safe, secure and stable environment. The partnership consists of Sound Mental Health (SMH), the South King County YWCA, Domestic Abuse Women’s Network (DAWN), LIFEWIRE and New Beginnings.

“This award serves as validation of the work we’re doing with partners in domestic violence advocacy,” said Susie Winston, Director of SMH’s Child and Family Services, who helped found the program. “Our hope is that this model of care, which requires trust, cooperation and teamwork to succeed, continues to make inroads in this and other communities. The county’s endorsement of this program tells us that this partnership has merit.”

Winston added that in the past, mental health and domestic violence agencies were unable to successfully collaborate — due to well-intentioned, though differing objectives — hampering efforts to develop uniquely specialized and integrated services.

Survivors of domestic violence understandably often endure Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, substance abuse issues, anxiety disorders and depression. By bridging the traditional barriers and resolving cultural differences between mental health and domestic violence agencies, CDVRT delivers tightly integrated, “wrap-around” services focused both on mental health and safety.

The program now serves approximately 600 survivors of domestic violence within 250 families. Funding limitations currently keep CDVRT from serving even more people.

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The Children’s Domestic Violence Response Team is a specialized collaboration formed to help survivors and their children heal from the trauma of domestic violence (DV). It is the first program in King County to provide specialized counseling services that help children recover from the effects of exposure to domestic violence, integrate domestic violence advocacy and services with mental health treatment, and treat survivors and their children together. Therapists from SMH provide evidenced-based therapies to address the exposure to trauma experienced by the children and their survivor parent. The DV Advocates provide a focus on safety and empowerment to meet the needs of families in a compassionate wrap around type service. CDVRT values the supportive parent as the expert on her family and trusts her to identify her family’s needs. Thus, services to families are based on their unique strengths, needs and priorities.

About Sound Mental Health

Sound Mental Health is a private, tax-exempt organization that has provided a comprehensive array of mental health and related services to the King County community since 1966. Our goal is to help individuals and families achieve the highest level of independence and (mental) health possible. Services are tailored to meet the unique needs of different age, disability and cultural/ethnic groups. To learn more, visit


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