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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, June 8, 2016
Barbara Burgener, Treatment Sales Tax, Program Manager, 360-867-2092 or burgenb@co.thurston.wa.us

Thurston County Commissioners Award Treatment Sales Tax Funds
Grants awarded will assist youth and adults with mental health and substance abuse issues

OLYMPIA - Youth or adults in the county with mental health and/or chemical dependency issues will benefit from grants awarded by Thurston County Commissioners. Commissioners recently approved Treatment Sales Tax (TST) funds for three community organizations located in Thurston County.

To qualify for TST funds, organizations must use evidence-based or promising practices tools that have consistently demonstrated their effectiveness in helping people with substance abuse or mental illness challenges achieve their goals. Effectiveness is established through rigorous studies that obtained similar outcomes. Grants are also being awarded to organizations submitting proposals that demonstrated an ability to produce results in one or more of the following TST Policy Goals and Thurston Thrives strategy map goal areas:

  • Improve the quality of life for Thurston County residents with mental illness and/or chemical dependency by reducing problem behavior, so children are raised in a healthy, safe environment.
  • Improve the quality of life for Thurston County residents with mental illness and/or chemical dependency by supporting students to overcome barriers and meet academic standards.
  • Increase access to appropriate behavioral health treatment by increasing levels of interagency collaboration, cross system coordination and planning between corrections, courts, mental health, and chemical dependency and housing services.
  • Reduce entry into, or deeper involvement with, the criminal justice system by increasing community, law enforcement, corrections and courts education and training for diversion and intervention for Thurston County residents with mental illness and/or chemical dependency.

    Thurston County Commission Chair Sandra Romero says the programs receiving funds provide great value.Romero said, "While we received more proposals than we could fund, the grants we approved for funding focus primarily on children and youth. That is an investment we cannot afford to pass up."

    The TST is a 1/10 of one percent sales tax to increase funds for mental health and chemical dependency services and therapeutic courts. The Board of Thurston County Commissioners enacted this tax in 2008. By enacting a TST, the county enhanced funding for diversion and intervention services that have helped contain the growth of the jail population and maintain, create or enhance services for individuals who are mentally ill, chemically dependent or who have co-occurring disorders. For services offered in 2014, the county was able to realize a $9.8 million return on investment. That's more than four dollars for every one dollar spent.

    All programs funded by the TST are involved in a comprehensive evaluation plan. Each program includes outcome measures, performance measures and targets, a schedule for evaluation and improvement, and site visits by staff from the Commissioners' office. Funding is for one year with no guarantee of renewal. Programs and funding recommendations are reviewed yearly by Commissioners as part of the annual budget process.


    YWCA Olympia - Girl's Council - Treatment and Diversion from Court and Detention:
    Partnering with Community Youth Services (CYS), Family and Juvenile Court, Thurston County Juvenile Detention, Office of Assigned Counsel, and the Prosecutor Attorney's Office, the YWCA of Olympia will create a cross system approach that provides gender responsive and trauma informed models of mental health and chemical dependency treatment for young women ages 12-17 who are in detention, diversion, or at risk. This is an evidenced based model that will be therapeutic, educational, and enrich the lives of participants. Thurston County will become a leader in implementing gender responsive juvenile justice. The $75,000 grant covers expenses only for YWCA and CYS. Services will be provided by using a promising practice model:

    • Reduce re-traumatization of young women; increase training among cross sector partners.
    • Empower young women to avoid delinquency and recidivism; reduce rates of substance use.
    • Improve mental health of young women; reduce depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation.
    • Improve academic indicators and self-efficacy; increase school attendance and hope.
    • Foster healthy emotional development of young women; increase number of supportive relationships, improve self-regulation, and improve attitude about pro-social group affiliation.

    Community Youth Services Mentally Health/ Substance Abuse Treatment for Homeless Youth ages 12 - 24:
    A second grant for $75,000 was awarded to Community Youth Services, a state certified community mental health agency, to increase the number of homeless young adults ages 12 -24 who are chemically dependent, mentally ill, or who are coping with co-occurring disorders. The purchase of one full time Mental Health Therapist will provide brief therapeutic interventions using the evidenced based Motivational Interviewing model. The target is youth who have not yet engaged in case management or implemented a plan to stabilize and become independent. For those with substance abuse issues, they will continue to offer Seven Challenges, an evidence based harm reduction model. Services will also be provided for Youth Build participants, who are former high school drop outs working to earn their diploma/GED and gain skills in construction or nursing. Services will be provided using two evidence-based programs:
    • Motivational Interviewing: A collaborative, person-centered approach to elicit and strengthen motivation for change.
    • Seven Challenges: A conversational technique used with youth who have substance abuse and/or mental health issues to assist them in making decisions and following through on them.

    Monarch Children's Justice and Advocacy Center Children's Therapy Program:
    The final grant for $50,000 was awarded to Monarch Children's Justice and Advocacy Center Children's Therapy Program that provides specialized, evidence based, sexual abuse mental health therapy services to victims of child sexual abuse and their affected, non-offending family members. The funds will allow the program to continue to reduce the wait list and provide one-on-one treatment sessions for post-traumatic stress disorder using the evidenced based tool:

    • Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: A psychosocial model designed to treat posttraumatic stress and related emotional and behavioral problems in children and adolescents. Initially developed to address the psychological trauma associated with child sexual abuse, the model has been adapted for use with children who have a wide array of traumatic experiences, including domestic violence, traumatic loss, and the multiple psychological traumas often experienced by children prior to foster care placement.

    For more information about the TST or funding awards, please visit the TST website: http://www.co.thurston.wa.us/treatment-tax/index.htm


County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3