Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Student CARES Team honored for work to bridge service gap

Posted By on Wed, May 15, 2013 at 10:09 AM

From Spokane Fire Department 

After six years of connecting vulnerable citizens with medical and social services, the student-staffed Community Assistance Response Team, known as the CARES Team, this week received special recognition from the city of Spokane for its work. 

CARES manager Patty Gregory says the Eastern Washington University program typically serves people who repeatedly turn to 911 for routine medical or crisis help. The team partners with the Spokane Fire Department to match those people with the proper non-emergency agencies for medical, mental health or social assistance.

The Spokane City Council honored the team with a special "salutation" Monday, praising its work to bridge the gap between emergency services and social programs. The salutation recognized the team's "outstanding commitment, professionalism and performance as social workers to collectively make Spokane a safer community."

About 12 students volunteer with the program as part of their social work studies at EWU. Gregory says the CARES team receives more than 200 referrals a year, sometimes responding directly to fires or major medical incidents to help guide victims to support programs. The team is funded by the Spokane Fire Department Foundation.

Gregory thanks the city and fire department for its ongoing support, saying the salutation helps reinforce the value of the innovative program.

"It's pretty darn unique," she says. 

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Jacob Jones

Staff writer Jacob Jones covers criminal justice, natural resources, military issues and organized labor for the Inlander.