CENTER FOR SURVIVORS OF TORTURE

Integrity Compassion Making a Difference

aka CST   |   Austin, TX   |  www.cstnet.org

Mission

Mission: Center for Survivors of Torture exists to facilitate healing, ease transition into new beginnings, and foster hope in survivors of torture, by providing specialized services addressing their comprehensive psychological, medical, and social needs; generating legal referrals; providing training opportunities for state-of-the-art professional service delivery; and collecting outcome measurements.

Notes from the nonprofit

COVID-19 Response The COVID-19 outbreak is one of those crises that leaves no one untouched, especially the more vulnerable in the community which includes those battling the psychic scars of torture. Fear and isolation are particularly debilitating for these survivors. Unfortunately, Center for Survivors of Torture is seeing an escalation of paralyzing anxiety, depression and insomnia among the adults and children served by the agency. Put simply, the pandemic is exacerbating the trauma these adults and children are already struggling to overcome. The impact of COVID-19 on CST and those it serves is why we adapted to the circumstances. As an organization, CST’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic puts the safety and wellbeing of our clients and staff first. CST is closely adhering to guidance from respected resources and is doing all we can to take protective and constructive steps to mitigate the impact on survivors.

Ruling year info

2000

Executive Director

Ms. Celia VanDeGraaf M.A.

Main address

9415 Burnet Road Suite 201

Austin, TX 78758-5264 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

75-2872010

NTEE code info

Other Mental Health, Crisis Intervention N.E.C. (F99)

Human Services - Multipurpose and Other N.E.C. (P99)

Intergroup/Race Relations (R30)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Torture is a violent means of controlling, silencing, and intimidating individuals and societies. There is an urgent need for psychological and physical rehabilitation for survivors, given the fact that over two-thirds of the countries of the world actively or tacitly endorse it as a means of political control. Left untreated, survivors may become homeless and mentally ill. Many can be at risk for suicide. When people are unable to heal, the consequences can reach far into following generations.

CST provides psychological, legal, medical, social services, basic needs and acculturation assistance for survivors and mental health services for refugees. As the sole provider of holistic, client-centered specialized treatment services throughout the 268,820 square miles of Texas, CST services are woven into the fabric of the lives of survivors. We have waiting list of four months et alone those who will arrive.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Services to international survivors of torture and trauma

Primary Services:
Individualized treatment plans
Individual/group therapy
Social services and acculturation
Forensic legal and medical reports for asylum court cases
Medical and legal referrals for cases we cannot take
Community outreach and education

Complementary Services:

Food, clothing, medicine, transportation
English practice, tutoring and class referrals
Mentoring with compatible volunteers
Acculturation activities
Computer/internet access
Parties and social events
Art therapy and group projects
Employment assistance and preparation

Population(s) Served
Immigrants and migrants
Victims and oppressed people

Provide specialized training for providers and the community.

Population(s) Served
Immigrants and migrants
Adults

Easy entry into community college programs

Population(s) Served
Immigrants and migrants
Victims and oppressed people

Where we work

Awards

Ed Wendeler Award for Excellence in the Refugee Community 2010

Casa Marianella

Affiliations & memberships

National Consortium of Torture Treatment Programs 2000

International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims 2000

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Goals and Results - Outcome‐Based Evaluation Measurements
The program goal of Center for Survivors is to assist survivors and their families during the process of healing and recovery, so they can focus on their health, begin the recovery process, discover and build new support networks, and move toward productive, meaningful, and fulfilling lives. The primary program objective is to provide high-quality, holistic, strengths-based, trauma-informed services to survivors to help them manage their health and rebuild their lives. Secondary objectives are to increase access to care, raise awareness in the community, and maintain the sustainability of high-quality care for survivors through education, training, and strategic partnerships.

CST utilizes several methods to measure a client's therapeutic outcomes. First, the client identifies therapeutic goals, and these goals are measured and documented toward incremental attainment. Next, the Harvard Trauma Questionnaire-Revised (HTQ-R) is used to measure the reduction rate of PTSD symptoms, initially and then at six-month intervals, by the clinician. In addition, clients describe their experiences and future orientation, helping the CST clinician and client together identify and pursue the development of coping skills that make mental health improvement sustainable. We rate symptoms and progress using the Children's Depression Inventory II.

CST tracks the 25 data points in our database and participates in the National Consortium of Torture Treatment Programs (NCTTP) data collection project (for more than ten years) following the American Counseling Association's (ACA) Ethical Code. In order to track client data, our data manager uses a modified MS Access database.

Our services
We provide wraparound services, which have been a best practice for many decades, and treat the whole client in the context of being an individual, a member of a family, a part of a culture and a survivor of repeated trauma, in a culturally competent manner:
• Counseling: Evaluation, diagnosis, evidence-based treatment: individual, group and family therapy: Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Solution-Focused approaches
• Medical care: Diagnosis, treatment, pain reduction, wound care, physiotherapy, prescriptions
• Case Management/Social Services: Clients work with case managers to set and achieve goals and obtain food and housing stability leading to self sufficiency
• Direct Aid: Food, transportation, medications, and other urgent needs
• Forensic Reports: Clinical evidence
• APB Education Program: Community college easy-entry programs

CST treatment is extremely effective. Over 82% of clients meet their counseling goals within six months. They are able to resolve grief and trauma and integrate their experiences into the larger context of the person they are. They experience a decrease in the frequency and intensity of symptoms and are able to eat, sleep without nightmares, concentrate and feel joy again.

In addition, despite the intense trauma and high rates of depression and PTSD, CST has not had a single client commit suicide. We credit our very effective intake and screening process that includes referrals for hospitalization when necessary, along with our effective counseling and full supportive services that provide the necessities of life and enable clients to develop and maintain hope.

1. Remarkably, in 2017, CST provided free comprehensive services to a total of 728 survivor clients, 452 adults, and 276 children.

2. CST successfully provided holistic services that restore the whole person, healing the body, mind and spirit. As in the previous project period, we met our clinical objectives including, a marked decrease in the numbers of CST clients experiencing mental health symptoms, specifically symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and adjustment disorder. The program also provided clinical services for survivors of with chronic and persistent mental illness such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, pain management and increased their ability to access supportive services such as supplemental security income, counseling programs in the schools, employment opportunity training and community/peer-support resources. Reduction in symptoms and access to support systems allowed survivors of to become more successful in education, employment, and family and work relationships, increased their financial self-sufficiency and integration into American communities. Clients who needed medical care or psychotropic medications had access to doctors at CST and referrals and were able to access prescription medications at no or low cost.

3. Through 32 different sessions, CST trained 439 professionals from voluntary agencies, health clinics, pro-bono professionals, school survivor programs, so they could be better informed regarding the mental health needs of survivors, how to screen for mental health concerns, and how to make appropriate referrals. These trainings took place in person, and CST held 12 monthly learning luncheons and utilized high-speed videoconferencing to leverage resources. CST awarded an average of 6 hours each for continuing education credits to clinicians who hold licenses in LMFT, LPC, and LMSW as part of our commitment to train professionals who want to provide pro-bono counseling services for survivors.
4. Long-term program impact included improved mental health; quality of life; wellness; self-sufficiency; English proficiency; employment' economic status; support systems; community involvement by clients; legal status; general health status; housing; relationships; and impact on future generations.

For clients in this program, in a six-month reporting period we saw:
• 43% of clients became proficient in English
• 61% of clients reported having an established support network
• 78% of clients were able to implement skills learned at CST in other settings
• 85% of clients reported improved mental and physical health and quality of life through our goal-oriented services.
• Clients developed business plans with the help from National American University and received funding to start their business with the help of CST volunteers, board and community college.

We perform complete assessments as part of the intake process, set significant but realistic goals in collaboration with clients and measure progress utilizing the same tools used in the intake process. We use best practice, evidence-based assessment tools: the Harvard Trauma Questionnaire for adults and the Children's Depression Inventory 2 for children. Other proven psychological testing instruments are utilized responsibly for assessment when indicated.

In a one-year period, we expect to achieve:
• 84% of individuals will meet their counseling goals within six months—they will be able to eat, sleep without nightmares, concentrate and feel joy again
o Baseline – 83%
• 82% of adults will demonstrate a 0.5 or more (on a 4.0) scale improvement on the Harvard Trauma Questionnaire for symptoms after 6 months or less of counseling.
o Baseline – 80%
• 71% of children will demonstrate a reduction of symptoms as evidenced on the Children's Depression Inventory 2 after 6 months or less of counseling
o Baseline – 70%
• 83% of clients with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder will experience a decrease in the frequency and intensity of symptoms—flashbacks, depression, anxiety, headaches, paranoia, nightmares, hopelessness, emotional numbness, stomachaches, backaches, loss of appetite.
o Baseline – 82%
• 93% of clients who need medical care and medications will receive it from CST and/or referrals to other providers and through community medical providers
o Baseline – 92%
• 85% of clients will meet a minimum of 3 case management goals within 6 months
o Baseline – 83%
Longer-term program impact includes improved mental health and quality of life for clients, wellness, self-sufficiency, English proficiency, occupational, employment, economic status, support systems, community involvement by clients, legal status, general health status, housing, relationships, and impact on future generations. For clients in this program, after 12 months we expect:
• 75% of discharged clients have met and maintained counseling goals for at least 12 months
• 78% of clients become proficient in English.
• 85% of clients report having an established support network.
• 90% of clients are able to implement skills learned at CST in other settings.
• 85% of clients report improved mental and physical health and quality of life through our goal oriented services.
• 85% of clients experience educational improvement, financial literacy, and ultimately become employed after high school, certificate training, or college.
• 80% of clients apply for citizenship after five years and consider themselves to be a contributing member of their community.
Population to be served: Survivors who are eligible individuals, having suffered in foreign countries and presenting in the U.S. At CST, we help those who have suffered because of who they are or what they believe, and it is our commitment to help restore their spirits and rebuild their lives.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    International Survivors of Torture living in United States

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    SMS text surveys, Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Case management notes, Constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    Emergency Donations for Covid Relief were used for the following: Basic Household Kits: includes one-month supply of food, hygiene products or baby related diapers and wipes, and cleaning products. These cleaning products are needed to sanitize and clean to keep family members healthy and prevent the spread of COVID-19. Education Technology Kits: Many families do not have access to internet, computers, cell phones and/or tablets yet these are needed to continue the education of children, seek employment after job loss and for counseling and basic needs provision. Each kit includes a Chromebook and 6 months of internet service. Adult Health Kits: These kits include over the counter medications, blood pressure monitors, thermometers, antibacterial sanitizer, gloves, wound care supplies.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    Client Satisfaction Tracking Plan: Monitoring and evaluation practices at CST consult torture survivors on their views of systems and practices and ways to improve them. Clients are active participants whose views and experiences of the organization’s systems and practices, including monitoring and evaluation, are crucial to maintain an ethical, respectful and meaningful system. CST provides clients with a confidential ten-question satisfaction survey every three months, to assess short-term quality of care and client program approval. Surveys are translated into twelve languages. The questions are both qualitative and quantitative. Essentially, CST measures the client’s reaction to CST’s holistic services, as well as how their skills, knowledge, and support network are changing over time

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback,

Financials

CENTER FOR SURVIVORS OF TORTURE
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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CENTER FOR SURVIVORS OF TORTURE

Board of directors
as of 9/5/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Ms Jeanne Stamp

Texas Homeless Education Office (retired)

Term: 2018 - 2021


Board co-chair

Dr. Karin Montero

Physician

Term: 2016 - 2021

Jeanne Stamp

Texas Homeless Education

Karin Montero

Physician

Anagha Gole

Accruent

Despina Lambros

University of Texas

Anne Dadura

LPC-Private Practice

Jodi Linderman

Data

Erich Pellietier

Communications and Films

Marco Campos

Government

Renee O'Connor

Education

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 02/28/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Decline to state

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Equity strategies

Last updated: 02/28/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.