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Sonoma County Family Justice Center gets $410,000 in grants

Sonoma County's year-old Family Justice Center has qualified for two grants totaling $410,000 to help pay for staff positions and develop technology to aid deaf clients.

A $400,000 grant, awarded for the second time to the center, comes from the federal Department of Justice's Office on Violence Against Women. It will cover about 65 percent of the cost of five advocate positions for victims of domestic violence, including child and elder abuse. A sixth position, dedicated to helping clientele navigate through the center's services, would be completely covered by the grant.

About $360,000 of the funding will be spent on staffing over 18 months and the remainder on operations.

The $10,000 grant comes from a Verizon-sponsored program called Hopeline and is meant to develop technology at the center to aid deaf victims.

District Attorney Jill Ravitch announced the two grant awards at Tuesday's Board of Supervisors meeting. “We're really excited about the sustainability of the Family Justice Center,” Ravitch said.

The center, launched last year with about $1.4 million in grant funding and private donations, provides counseling, legal aid, law enforcement help and other relief at one location.

It's estimated annual budget of $446,000 comes from a variety of non-county sources, including grants, donations, and state and federal monies.

Community groups providing staff and services to the center include the YWCA, United Against Sexual Assault, Sonoma County Legal Aid, Council on Aging and Catholic Charities.

An Oct. 12 grand opening is set to celebrate completion of remodeling work at the center's headquarters at 2755 Mendocino Avenue in Santa Rosa.

Sonoma County purchased the 20,000-square-foot building last year for $4 million. Remodeling was expected to cost another $4 million.

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