In 1985 Robert “Bud” Cramer, an Alabama District Attorney, met with a young victim of child abuse. He asked her many detailed questions, until finally, she looked at him and asked, “don’t you people talk to each other?” Bud reflected on her question and from there he created the idea that has changed the lives of so many, a Child Advocacy Center (CAC).
Seth Dawson, Snohomish County’s Elected Prosecutor in the 1990’s, attended a conference where he learned about Cramer’s new idea and returned with a new sense of excitement for Snohomish County. The CAC dream was planted in other Snohomish County Professionals and in 2002 a task force was created to begin Snohomish County’s own CAC. The task force was comprised of the managers from programs that worked together on child abuse cases including: Providence Intervention Center for Assault and Abuse (PICAA), Compass Health Child Advocacy Program (CAP), Child Protective Services, Snohomish County’s Special Investigation Unit (SIU) and Snohomish County’s Special Assault Unit (SAU).
The Taskforce met for three years educating themselves about CAC’s and imagining what Snohomish County’s CAC would look like and how it would work. In 2005, the executives of these five programs and others joined a Steering Committee for Dawson Place. The committee was made up of wise and knowledgable people from many disciplines around the county. In 2006, rental space became available on Colby Avenue and the five programs moved into Dawson Place’s temporary home.
By 2007, it was clear Dawson Place was a success, so the Steering Committee and management team began discussing how to find a more permanent building for Dawson Place. They created a fund-raising Campaign and received both state and federal grants to get started. The management team and Steering Committee members began looking for the perfect building in Everett. It needed to be large enough, affordable, walking distance to the Court house, and close to Providence Hospital. After years of looking, Steering Committee member Bill Dobler approached an old friend and asked if he was ready to sell a building owned by his family. The friend agreed to sell 1509 California Street to Dawson Place Child Advocacy Center. The building was purchased and remodeled to fit Dawson Place’s needs.
In 2010, Dawson Place finally moved into its new, permanent home on California Street. That July, Seth Dawson cut the ribbon at the grand opening and shared stories about being in the same building as a child when it was the JCPenny’s annex, while celebrating his dream, becoming a reality.
Managers and staff in the new space worked to create a Multidisciplinary Team so that children who come to see us never have to ask, “don’t you people talk to each other?” They met and formulated updates to the Snohomish County Protocol that articulates each program’s responsibilities and how the programs work together on behalf of victims. There was one part time director of Dawson Place, a receptionist, and about fifty-five people working in the building for all the co-located agencies. The child victims began coming to Dawson Place for safety, justice, and healing.
IF ABUSE IS HAPPENING, DON’T WAIT ANY LONGER
Contact Dawson Place to transform hurt to hope and receive the services you need.