District Attorney Jill Ravitch announced that the California Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) has awarded a grant of approximately $175,000 to the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office and Social Advocates for Youth (SAY) to provide counseling and housing services to vulnerable youth in Sonoma County. The “Victim Services and Public Safety Branch, Underserved Victims Unit” of Cal OES sought proposals from governmental and community-based victim service providers from across the state in July of this year for projects that would, “serve marginalized victims of crime” particularly emphasizing assistance to foster care youth.
In response to the solicitation, the Sonoma County District Attorney’s office, partnered with SAY, submitted a proposal to fund a program dedicated to improving coordination between Community Based Organizations and government agencies to provide emergency housing and counseling services for youth victims of crime. Specifically, the proposal called for funding a District Attorney Senior Victim Advocate to coordinate with Sonoma County Family, Youth & Children (FY&C) social workers, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), and SAY to provide counseling and housing services to “dependent” and foster children in Sonoma County. The proposal noted that SAY would provide immediate, short- term emotional and physical care for youth victims, including crisis intervention and trauma- informed advocacy.
District Attorney Ravitch stated, “We are very happy to have received funding for this program which is desperately needed in Sonoma County. The challenges we face today including increased drug abuse, lack of mental health services, and lack of housing have put added pressure on the children in this community. As a result, my office has worked closely with SAY to develop a program that is laser focused on bringing practical and critical support to the most vulnerable youth in our county.”
According to SAY’s CEO, Katrina Thurman, “Youth can overcome trauma and past victimization when they are supported by caring, highly trained staff members focused on meeting their basic human needs like housing, mental health counseling, and victim advocacy. It is an honor to work side-by-side with our local government agencies in Sonoma County to ensure that the most marginalized victims in our community get the care they need and deserve to thrive.”
The Cal OES has indicated that the grant will be funded starting Jan. 1, 2019, and will end Dec. 31, 2019.