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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, April 30, 2014
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 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. Thurston County Commission Chair Karen Valenzuela says the programs receiving funds provide great value.

"While we received more proposals than we could fund, the grants we approved for funding focus primarily on children and youth, an investment we cannot afford not to make."


1.Community Youth Services, a state certified community mental health agency, was awarded $25,000 to increase the number of homeless young adults ages 16-24 who are chemically dependent, mentally ill or who are coping with co-occurring disorders. Funded programs will help them secure housing, reduce their justice system involvement and reduce emergency room visits. 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.
The plan is to serve 60 youth with intensive case management.

2.A second grant for $25,000 was awarded to the YWCA of Olympia for expansion of an intervention therapy which targets resiliency and protective factors. The plan is to serve 36 high-risk girls ages 12-17 in rural Thurston County and participants in the Community Youth Services Juvenile Diversion program. The goals include an increased attachment to school, decreased alcohol and drug use, and decreased symptoms of major depression and suicide. Services will be provided by using a promising practice model:

Girl's Circle: A support group for girls that integrates relational theory, resiliency practices, and skills training to increase positive connection, personal and collective strengths, and competence. The model is a gender responsive approach to increasing girls' protective factors and overall health.

3.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 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.

What is the Treatment Sales Tax?
In 2008, the Board of Thurston County Commissioners passed a 1/10 of one percent sales tax to increase funds for mental health and chemical dependency services and therapeutic courts. By enacting a "Treatment Sales Tax" (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 2013 the county was able to realize a $10.8 million return on investment. That's more than $4 for every $1 spent.

All programs funded by the Treatment Sales Tax are involved in a comprehensive evaluation plan. Residents of Thurston County deserve documentation of the needs and benefits of the use of those tax dollars. 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. For more information please check out 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