Non-profits serving domestic abuse victims fear state, federal funding cuts
Agencies that provide shelter and services to domestic violence and sexual assault victims are among those who face funding cuts in Gov John Carney’s proposed budget cuts.
That’s bad news since those services are highly subsidized by federal and state contracts and other public dollars.
Gov. Carney is proposing to save nearly $600,000 in the state budget through cuts to groups in the First State that receive state “pass through” funding. Those dollars are earmarked for certain non-profit agencies in the state’s general fund.
People’s Place and Child, Inc. – which each provide around-the-clock hotlines, shelters, counseling and more to women fleeing domestic abuse - are two of those groups.
“When you run a 24-hour facility like that, most of the costs are fixed," saidTim Brandau, Executive Director of Child, Inc. "So it’s hard to cut things."
He says his agency – which is about 85% publicly funded - is working on a contingency plan. Brandau says cuts would most likely affect staffing.
Mariann Kenville-Moore with the Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence calls any funding cuts a big blow, adding domestic violence shelters require additional supports and service coordination.
She says a 10% cuts to their "pass through" funding would mean an overall cut of 29 -33% in their operating budgets since 2009.
“In domestic violence programs – we are trying to address the very serious issues that these families are facing," she said. "And the reality is that our shelter capacity really is only able to take individuals who are in serious threat of harm.”
Kenville-Moore says local domestic violence shelters served about 200 women last year, not including children – but notes just as many were turned away.
Last year there were over 3,500 combined calls placed to domestic violence hotlines.
She says there just aren't enough resources to go around, especially amid the current budget climate. She’s worried about the federal funding the agencies receive, too - one federal grant, the Family Violence Prevention Services Act grant - has provided funding support for domestic violence shelters.
This grant is issued by the US Department of Health and Human Services, and with Trump’s proposed 18% cuts to that department - Kenville-Moore is projecting that that would translate to an 18% cut to services funded by that grant.
Domestic violence groups have also received federal funding through the Violence Against Womens' Act STOP Grant, and the Victims' of Crime Act Grant, administered by the Delaware Criminal Justice Council in the form of competitive grants. Some of that funding could be on the chopping block, too.