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Astro the Service Dog- Helping Victims of Abuse

Monarch CJAC(2)Monarch CJACBy: Kirsten York

Community Action Council of Lewis, Mason & Thurston Counties is the home for Monarch Children’s Justice and Advocacy Center- a nationally accredited child advocacy center. Monarch, in conjunction with their partner agencies, offers a wide range of services at no cost to child abuse/neglect victims, their families and adult survivors, all in a child-centered, friendly environment. These services include: forensic interviews, medical evaluations, multidisciplinary case staffing and coordination; and individual, group, couples and family therapy. Additional services offered are education, prevention, and advocacy.

The newest member of Monarch’s team as of late 2013 is Astro (pictured left), a three year old yellow lab that is a service dog trained by Assistance Dogs of Hawaii and brought to Monarch by Courthouse Dogs Foundation. Astro works with child victims being treated at Monarch’s Center through interviewing, investigation, therapy and even in the courtroom. His presence is calming and reduces stress for victims as they go through all the steps of disclosure, investigation, prosecution, and healing. Monarch, Astro, and all partners work to reduce in the incidence and impact of child abuse by providing a coordinated, child-centered, specialized multidisciplinary response, to victims and their families.

In May 2015, Monarch planted 600 pinwheels in honor of Child ACACLMT-Monarch 3x5buse Prevention Month. Each pinwheel represents a child seen by Monarch and partners each year. Tambra Donohue, Director of Monarch, says, “This event is a visual representation of the work we do in a year- and all the lives we touch to bring healing to those affected by child abuse.” Treatment and healing is important, prevention is also vital in reducing those incidences of abuse in our community.
Thank you to all the funding sources who support Monarch and its partners: Washington State Department of Commerce, Office of Crime Victims Advocacy, Child Advocacy Centers of WA, Cities of Lacey, Olympia & Tumwater, Thurston & Lewis Counties, Community Investment Partnership, United Way, National Children’s Alliance, Zonta Club of Olympia, Junior League and St. Peter’s Foundation.

CFD Charity Code # 0315241

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