Magazine lauds director of Children's Center

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Pat Beckett, the executive director of the Children's Center, has been named a 2013 Behavioral Healthcare Champion by Behavioral Healthcare magazine. She is one of five people chosen out of dozens of nominees nationwide, and recognized in the latest issue of the publication.

The Behavioral Healthcare Champion award recognizes CEOs and executive directors who are making a difference in the development, delivery and effectiveness of innovative services for people struggling with mental health and substance abuse disorders.

Beckett earned a master's degree in social work from the University of Pittsburgh in 1979 and has been a practicing social worker and therapist in Vancouver for more than 30 years. She was a founder and the first therapist at the Children's Center, a mental health clinic for low-income children and families. She became executive director 11 years ago and now oversees a full-time staff of 30.

The article in Behavioral Healthcare magazine notes that under Beckett the Children's Center has developed mental health and sexual abuse recovery programs, and makes special note of the Children's Center "Coaches" program, serving children exposed to methamphetamine in utero or in the environment.

Long working out of downtown spaces, The Children's Center now plans to build its own building in Cascade Park, at 13500 S.E. Seventh Ave.

"The real champions are those people who do this work every day," Beckett said. "I've just been fortunate enough to be able to walk alongside them."