Navigating Financial Services and Domestic Violence

Did you know?

YWCA Spokane has a team of four CSO Advocates that provide outreach and support to domestic violence survivors receiving benefits through a government program called TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), which offers cash assistance to single or double parent households who meet financial eligibility requirements. In Washington, this program is administered through the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), via local Community Services Offices (CSOs).

DSHS Community Services Offices & YWCA Spokane

YWCA Spokane Advocates are co-located at each of the two Spokane CSOs and are able to provide additional support for survivors in a number of meaningful ways. Many DSHS clients who are referred for services are reporting domestic violence for the first time. Having a YWCA Advocate stationed in the CSO allows clients to find out more about resources and available services in an already-familiar location.

Maple CSO Trent CSO
1313 N Maple St
Spokane, WA 99201
DSHS Maple CSO Website 
8517 E Trent Ave, Suite 101
Spokane Valley, WA 99212
DSHS Trent CSO Website 

TANF can be a complicated system in the best of times, but when a client is also working to address safety concerns and other barriers due to domestic violence, that system can become even more difficult to access appropriately.  Additional support can be vital to these client’s success.

While domestic violence services provided at YWCA Spokane are generally limited to survivors of intimate partner violence, at the CSO, YWCA Advocates can offer support to survivors of all kinds of domestic violence, including intimate partner, familial, roommate, or sexual assault.


Supporting Survivors Through The CSO

YWCA Spokane CSO Advocates work to ensure survivors are able to equitably and safely navigate the TANF system.

Our CSO Advocates:
  • inform survivors of their rights and of the services offered through DSHS,
  • ensure survivors are given the appropriate credit for the time they spend addressing domestic violence barriers,
  • connect survivors to YWCA Spokane services and other community resources to further address their needs,
  • and evaluate and recommend clients for an extension beyond the normal program limits, when appropriate.

Clients connect with YWCA Spokane Advocates in weekly phone calls or in-person meetings, where we offer supportive listening, safety planning, crisis intervention, verify their TANF weekly participation activities, and suggest/share resources.

Our Advocates provide survivors with information about domestic violence; for example, helping to understand the nuances of how power and control may have manifested in their relationship, as well as normalizing survivors’ experiences of PTSD and mental health conditions.


Additional Services Provided by YWCA Spokane’s CSO Advocates

YWCA Spokane’s CSO Advocates provide ongoing education to clients and DSHS staff about domestic violence and the unique barriers DV survivors face, such as:

  • Mechanisms of domestic violence
  • Myths about abuse
  • Consequences of victim blaming
  • Barriers experienced by survivors when accessing systems
  • Power and Control Wheel
  • Cycle of Violence
  • Additional risk factors for survivors (e.g. reproductive coercion, substance abuse, etc.)

Lastly, perhaps one of the most important ways YWCA Spokane’s CSO Advocates serve clients is by believing in a survivor’s ability to continue surviving and to make choices that are right for them. The Advocates model consent; seeking permission and providing options to ensure services are client-driven.


You can learn more about TANF services here and apply for benefits by visiting washingtonconnection.org.