Tom Essex & Mary Taylor, “The King County Drug Diversion Court – 23 Years of Changing Lives”
Thomas P. Essex, LSWAIC, CDP, is a Master of Social Work and Chemical Dependency Counselor with over 20 years of experience in human services. He began his career in New York State as Recreation Therapist at the Center for Intensive Treatment. Upon moving to California, Mr. Essex expanded his experience in the field, directing independent living programs for the Regional Center System of California. He then accepted a position in Seattle with Community Psychiatric Clinic, supervising the Belltown Community Services Office. Mr. Essex has extensive experience working with people of all ages and various cultural backgrounds, who are struggling with mental health, addiction, housing, and legal issues.
Mr. Essex became a case manager with the King County Adult Drug Diversion Court (KCDDC) in June of 2006. In June of 2010, Mr. Essex was hired as Treatment Manager for the King County Drug Diversion Court, and in 2017 he completed his Master of Social Work degree, with focus in Emergency Department Social Work. Mr. Essex is responsible for maintaining the quality of internal and external clinical and treatment aspects of the KCDDC program. He has worked to ensure that the needs of each participant are met, including the development and implementation of a young adult track and providing safe and comprehensive services for opiate dependent participants.
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Mary K. Compiano Taylor, MSW, has 29 years of experience working in the judicial system. She was employed for seven years as a social worker with King County Superior Court, serving as a family law and adoption social worker.
In 1995, Ms. Taylor was appointed project coordinator by the King County Superior Court and the King County Bar Association for the Unified Family Court Project, a project aimed at improving the court’s response to children and families. The projected resulted in the establishment of a Family Law Information Center, the establishment of a Courthouse Drop‑In Child Care Center, and ongoing training and education for professionals involved in the legal system.
Ms. Taylor assumed the position of program manager for the King County Adult Drug Diversion Court in 1998. In that position, Ms. Taylor has overseen the development of the program, from a fledgling pilot to a multi-faceted, comprehensive program in which over 2,000 people have graduated and had their felony charges dismissed. From 2011 to 2017 she also served as the administrator of the King County Step Up Program, a juvenile court program which treats juveniles involved in domestic violence against parents and caregivers.
Ms. Taylor has a BA from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and a Teacher’s certification and Master’s of Social Work from the University of Washington.