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Family Sunshine Center Receives Grant to Provide Services for Children Who Have Experienced Trauma


For Immediate Release

POC:   Melanie Beasley                                                                          Date: January 8, 2013


Montgomery—Karen Sellers, Executive Director of the Family Sunshine Center (Montgomery Area Family Violence Program, Inc.), is pleased to announce the receipt of a multi-year grant to provide services for children who have experienced trauma in their lives due to family violence and/or sexual assault.  The new program is called CARES, Children Advancing Through Recovery and Empowerment Services, and is intended to provide trauma-focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy to 440 children and adolescents who have witnessed family violence and/or been a victim of child abuse and/or sexual assault.  In addition, the grant will provide training opportunities to agencies and individuals who provide services to children.

The grant, awarded by the Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA), will support five new positions within the agency and calls for a partnership among the domestic violence counseling center, local mental health center, Child Protect, the Montgomery County Department of Human Resources, the Helping Montgomery Families Initiative and others.

“We were very surprised, grateful and totally excited about receiving this grant.  We are among a chosen few across the nation, and will be working closely with professionals in other states and communities to duplicate or establish best practices for serving children who are victims of trauma. We appreciate the support of a number of community partners who have committed to help, and to the State Department of Mental Health who agreed to endorse our work,” said Karen Sellers.  Sellers also pointed out that the grant money pays for new and very specific services, and will not be available to support shelter, transitional housing or other services the Family Sunshine Center has traditionally provided.  

This SAMSHA grant award is for $400,000 for up to four years, contingent upon the availability of funding.  As 2012 came to a close, Family Sunshine Center supervisors began efforts to staff the new positions proposed in the grant, investigate office configurations, notify partnering agencies and others, and review the timeline to ensure that immediate and necessary commitments are achieved.

“We know that family violence is intergenerational; we know that children who witness family violence or who are physically, emotionally or sexually abused experience ongoing and long-term consequences from the trauma; and we expect that addressing that trauma sooner rather than later can make a real difference in children’s lives.  That is what this grant will allow us to do,” Sellers said.


The Family Sunshine Center serves victims of family violence and sexual assault in a seven-county service area, which includes Autauga, Butler, Chilton, Crenshaw, Elmore, Lowndes and Montgomery counties.  Services include a 24-hour crisis line, emergency shelter, transitional housing, non-residential counseling, court advocacy, legal assistance and others. 

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