Kids in the St. Cloud area who have witnessed violence or another traumatic event will now get immediate help because of a new child advocate position associated with the Stearns County Domestic Violence Partnership. Private funding has been obtained for a full-time Trauma Informed Advocate to work with St. Cloud metro police departments. Applications are now being accepted – those interested in the position should contact Rhonda Domagala, Human Resources Manager, Central Minnesota Mental Health Center at (763) 271-5320 (phone), (763) 295-5086 (fax).
In August 2012, the Stearns County Domestic Violence Partnership (DVP) was introduced to a Greensboro, N.C., program that provided specialized services to children who had witnessed domestic violence. The DVP coordinated with the St. Cloud Police Department and the Central Minnesota Mental Health Center along with the St. Cloud Metro Chief’s Association (Sauk Rapids, Sartell, Waite Park, St. Joseph, and St. Cloud), and obtained funding to hire a full-time Trauma Informed Advocate. The advocate will have an office at the St. Cloud Police Department and will service the St. Cloud metro area. Police officers who encounter a child exposed to a traumatic event such as domestic assault, household fire, car accident, assault, or another traumatic event will refer the child to the advocate who will connect the child with specially trained service providers within 24-48 hours. The Ambit Network of the University of Minnesota will provide program evaluation and other services.
The DVP is composed of representatives of the following agencies: Anna Marie’s Alliance, Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid, Stearns County Human Services, Stearns County Sherriff’s Office, Stearns County Attorney’s Office, Seventh Judicial District Public Defender’s Office, St. Cloud Police Department, Sartell Police Department, and Stearns County District Court.