Story by: Carmen Ramos Chandler

Strength United — which was established by California State University, Northridge to aid individuals affected by violence and trauma, with a focus on sexual assault, domestic abuse and child maltreatment — has received a $679,717 grant from the state of California for a trauma recovery center.

The nonprofit was one of only six agencies in the state to receive funding to provide trauma-informed mental health treatment and case management to underserved crime victims who may not be eligible for victim compensation or who may be fearful of reporting a crime to law enforcement.

“We are excited to have the opportunity, through the trauma recovery center funding, to provide more comprehensive, evidence-based clinical services to our clients, as well as develop a trauma-informed training and self-care program for our staff and community,” Strength United Executive Director Kim Roth said. “The trauma recovery center funding also will enable Strength United to further our collaboration in the community, enhance student academic experiences and help us identify and share data about the effectiveness of our programming through outcome research, to support others in providing trauma-informed education and practices.”

The grant will allow Strength United to provide mental health services to 120 new clients and an additional existing 95 clients who are victims of crime. It also will support clinical case management and coordinated care to the clients served. New clients can include family members and loved ones of homicide victims. Roth added that no one asking for help will be denied service.

Strength United officials said they will use some of the funds from the grant to create at least 10 annual, collaborative activities with community partners, 20 community-based outreach events, 12 trainings to law enforcement, and six trainings to community-based organizations and other healthcare providers. The goal is to increase the ability of first responders and healthcare providers to identify the effects of crime on victims and understand how to treat trauma.

“Committed to leveraging systems and to serve as catalysts for improving policies and practices, Strength United, and by extension CSUN, collaborates with federal, state, county and local leaders to ensure the needs and voices of those impacted by violence are heard and responded to,” Roth said. “These efforts are supported by the 40 graduate and 120 undergraduate students who, through the trauma recovery center funding, will be afforded greater opportunities to enrich their learning and become the future professionals and leaders in the anti-violence movement.”

Strength United’s Van Nuys location houses the first Family Justice Center in Los Angeles County, and serves as a home for first responders, law enforcement investigators and assault crime detectives, forensic nurse examiners, civil legal services, advocates, case managers and counselors. The center is designed to reduce the barriers related to victim cooperation and access to law enforcement. There, clients are helped with their applications for crime-victim compensation and other crucial resources.

Strength United, which was established through CSUN’s Michael D. Eisner College of Education, is staffed with a licensed psychologist, social workers, clinicians, mentors, advocates, educators and researchers. Graduate students studying marriage and family therapy and social work provide direct counseling services, and undergraduates staff Strength United’s 24/7 crisis intervention and hotline services.

Strength United has served the communities in the San Fernando and Santa Clarita Valleys since 1986. It is a comprehensive, social service, mental health and educational organization, serving individuals of all ages, cultures, ethnicities and abilities who have experienced a violent crime and trauma, with a focus on child maltreatment, domestic violence and sexual violence.

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