Monday, January 26, 2015

Family Assessment Response

Washington is one of nine states that have been selected for a new federal waiver program that was approved by President Obama in 2011, as part of the Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act. In preparation of the wavier application and state reform on child welfare services in March 2012, Washington State signed the following bills into law; Senate Bill 6555- Family Assessment Response (FAR), House Bill 2536 Evidence Based Practices, House Bill 2264 Performance Based Contracting, and House Bill 2263 Reinvesting Savings.

 The new program Family Assessment Response (FAR) offers alternatives to Child Protective Services (CPS) and promotes the focus to a family’s needs. CPS will determine and refer families to FAR, Investigative Response, or Screen out. Families with intakes screened in for low to moderate risk, minor physical abuse or neglect will be offered FAR. Families with intakes screened in for imminent harm, high risk serious physical abuse, sexual abuse or exploitation, serious high risk neglect and criminal situations will be assigned to the investigative response and court intervention.

The federal waiver does not allocate additional funds to the state, however it allows the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) to obtain and make better use of federal public funds within the child welfare system for prevention and in home services. Currently, the federal government provides funding reimbursements for eligible children in out of home care. The waiver allows DSHS to evaluate families on individual basis and intervene with services that could help preserve families and keep children in their own homes. DSHS will be able to provide families with preventative and support services, with federal funding such as housing assistance. The Department can now obtain and use these funds to prevent out of home care, reentry into the foster care system and court intervention.

 The goal of the FAR pathway is to assess the family’s strengths and needs, offer services to meet their needs and prevent future maltreatment. The FAR assessment is completed in collaboration with the family. Involvement with FAR will be voluntary. The FAR programs guidelines allow the Department 45 days -90 with an extension to connect the family to support services and community service providers. The success of the FAR pathway will require the community’s involvement and resources. Clark County rolled out Family Assessment Response in October 2014.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Reaching Out, Online

At YWCA, we pride ourselves on diversity and innovation. That’s why we’re taking new measures to expand our social media reach. This year, you can expect two significant changes in the way we utilize social media.

First, we will be updating our website. The fresh new look is clean and organized for a user-friendly experience. New sections include Fresh@YW, Empower Yourself, a Partnerships page and a Media section. Fresh@YW contains a real-time feed of YWCA news from across the nation. Empower Yourself offers a direct link to resources for people in need. The Partnership page celebrates the numerous corporate and nonprofit partnerships that support our mission. And the media section offers immediate resources to help address inquiries at any time of the day.

Secondly, we’ll be moving from a bi-monthly e-newsletter to a weekly blog. The blog will allow for more timely reporting on current happenings and news. You will be able to sign up to receive blog updates directly to your email or RSS feeder. Quarterly, we’ll release an e-newsletter that covers top stories from the last 3 months.

We continue to utilize Facebook and Twitter for most daily announcements, but you can also find us on Pinterest, Vimeo and YouTube! Thanks to our solid network of volunteers, donors and fans, we’ve exceeded 1000 likes on our Facebook page. If you’re happy with our quality of content, and want to help YWCA thrive, feel welcome to share, comment and like our posts. And, if you find something worth sharing, post it on our page! We may even re-post it directly to our feed for better coverage.

Our new blog and website will further our reach on the Internet and in social media, expanding and empowering the YWCA community with tools and resources needed to succeed. Look for the new website coming this spring, and for a blog announcement and subscription link coming soon.


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Cheers to Greatness!

By Emily Ostrowski

If you are a lover of fine wine and supporting your community, the Classic Wines Auction (CWA) just might be one of your new favorite nonprofits.

The Classic Wines Auction is an annual event that features wine and food tastings, entertainment, a silent auction featuring mobile bidding, and an exhilarating live auction with a gourmet, five-course dinner.

CWA is preparing for its 31st annual auction on March 7th, and YWCA Clark County is honored to be among one of their charity partners. YWCA and CWA have been partners since 2008, and YWCA has benefited immensely from CWA’s vast resources and fundraising expertise, with anywhere from 30 to 50 percent of our annual private donations coming from the Auction.

YWCA Director of Philanthropy Kate Sacamano, recognizes the many advantages of partnering with a highly regarded fundraising organization. “Partnering with other well-respected nonprofits is a great learning experience, and we support each other throughout the process. There are no other events that offer the same marketing exposure, target audience, and results that CWA does. We (YWCA) are able to share our mission with and generate support from a much broader audience.”

Sacamano also acknowledges that partnering with CWA alleviates a substantial amount of the financial burden that comes with putting on an auction all on our own, which YWCA did until partnering with CWA.

“The resources needed to host an event of this magnitude would be more than we could manage. We benefit from their expertise and full time focus on obtaining and retaining major sponsors, and are happy to share responsibilities rather than carry the burden on our own.”

HeatherHeadshotHeather Martin, Executive Director of CWA, is equally pleased to be partnered with YWCA.

"YWCA Clark County is a wonderful organization that is doing incredible and necessary work in Clark County. When we made the strategic decision to engage a charity partner in SW Washington back in 2007, YWCA was at the top of that list as a strong organization that attracts community support and provides a range of services to children and families that are not replicated by other agencies. YWCA has a strong reputation, committed and talented staff, and makes a meaningful impact in the community.”

Since joining CWA in 2004, Martin has strived to innovatively and collaboratively work with CWA’s charity partners to achieve fundraising and marketing successes that would be impossible to reach if each organization worked alone. CWA offers their charity partners unrestricted funding opportunities and increased visibility, without putting a strain on their individual resources.

As for the Auction itself, Martin and those at CWA aim to “transport” their guests for the evening with fine food and wine, the chance to bid on unique goods and exotic trips, and offer attendees an overall elevated and sophisticated experience.

Martin acknowledges this unique event would not be possible without all the sponsors, guests, charity partners, and volunteers who make the night what it is. CWA is especially thankful for Vancouver-based Kuni Automotive and Greg Goodwin for their ongoing support and role as Presenting Sponsor.
Sacamano, who has previously attended the Auction and plans to be there this year as a staff volunteer, is already looking forward to the event. “I have previously attended twice as a guest and really enjoyed the entire experience. I was especially moved by the generosity of the philanthropists in the room, and the generosity of those who donate auction items. I also really enjoy the exceptional food and wine. The entire experience is very unique and memorable.”

If you would like to attend this year’s Classic Wines Auction on Saturday, March 7th at the Oregon Convention Center click here to purchase tickets while they are still available. You can also visit CWA’s website to donate or volunteer at this year’s Auction.


Monday, January 19, 2015

January Program Highlights

Independent Living Skills participants celebrated the holidays with a fantastic holiday party on December 16th. Thanks to all those that attended, and congratulations to the winners of the extreme-speed-coloring contest! ILS is gearing up for financial aid season! We will be working on scholarship and financial aid applications with an emphasis on scholarships specifically for foster youth, like The Governor’s Scholarship.

The CASA Program is proud of the 161 community volunteers who are currently committed to representing the voices of 357 children in our county child welfare system. Help to ensure that the 260 remaining children without a CASA, can have a volunteer appointed to them in 2015. CASA’s winter training will begin on January 8, 2015. To learn how to become a CASA volunteer, visit or contact Nichole Peppers at 360-906-9112 or

The Sexual Assault Program has a great need for volunteers to provide support for victims/survivors of sexual assault. YWCA offers comprehensive training and a network of support staff and resources. Application and pre-registration for winter training is required. Apply online at, and contact Nichole at 306-906-9112 or to pre-register. We’re also looking forward to the NoMore Summit on January 17th and are eagarly planning our own awareness events for Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April.

The SafeChoice Program is in need of donations to further update it’s shelter facilities. Residents escaping violence and defining personal goals need a new computer to research employment opportunities, and to complete homework. Please contact Misty Cumbie, Family Resource Coordinator at 360-448-6930 to donate a computer, bed mattresses, curtains, unexpired infant formula, interior paint, chairs, books, games and art supplies. .

The children of Y’s Care were honored guests at Beaches for a Holiday Lunch and visit with Santa and his elves. Thank you Beaches for a wonderful visit! Y’s Care staff and parents are finding that the child-centered approach to learning is a success. Y’s Care is currently seeking grants to complete the outdoor classroom, and to upgrade kitchen appliances to meet current needs of the classroom.

The Women Offenders Rehabilitation, Training, and Help (WORTH) Program is now managed by Second Step Housing. Once a part of YWCA Clark County, Second Step Housing is now responsible for the growth and operations of the WORTH Program. Second Step Housing currently provides empowerment based services to women, men, and families who have been affected by incarceration as well as homelessness. The pairing of the WORTH program with Second Step Housing ensures these at-risk populations continue to receive positive and long-lasting services.

Social change starts with one voice but requires the efforts of many. Through the years, YWCA Clark County has expanded and refined social change efforts with the assistance of its Directors of Social Change. As of January 1st, 2015, social change directives will be shared with the dedicated program directors, staff, and volunteers of each program. In addition to increasing the positive impact of our organization on the broader community, this strategic decision helps us move towards the sustainable growth of all current and future programs and initiatives.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A Joyous Holiday

YWCA Clark County supporters were very generous again this year. We launched our annual Holiday Appeal and Holiday Shop gift solicitation in early November 2014. By the end of the year, we received over $50,000 in cash donations, and were able to provide holiday gifts for 105 adults and 264 children.

 This season, we highlighted our Independent Living Skills Program (ILS) and the profound impact it has on the lives of youth transitioning out of foster care. A shocking 35% of Washington youth leaving foster care end up homeless because of a lack of family and community support to help them find work, affordable housing or continue their education. The ILS Program provides training, mentoring and community resources to help young adults avoid this tragic ending and enter into their adult life with a solid foundation.

 Thanks to thousands of gift donations, ILS youth and participants from our other four programs, shared in the joy of giving through a unique gift service program we call the Holiday Shop. Every year, staff and volunteers collaborate to create a mini-mall in the Community Room of YWCA. With shopping cart in hand and a personal shopper by their side, participants stroll through tables and tables of new gift items and select items for their families. Next, they are escorted to a wrapping station, where volunteers dress gifts with festive wrapping paper and shiny bows. The Holiday Shop always brings a special kind of joy to everyone involved.

 Thank you to the hundreds of community members who thought of those served by YWCA, and who took time to donate funds and gifts this holiday season. Year after year, your support of YWCA Clark County continues to humble and amaze.