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House of Representatives
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: January 4, 2013 11:40 AM
From: Representative Ron Marsico
To: All House members
Subject: Funding Child Advocacy Centers - DARE
Children who are abused are among crime victims with the most critical need of immediate, comprehensive services. Fortunately, Pennsylvania is home to several Child Advocacy Centers which offer a multidisciplinary approach to assisting abused children recover from physical and emotional harm, while helping law enforcement and prosecutors develop testimonial and expert evidence necessary to arrest and prosecute perpetrators. The House Judiciary Committee recently visited a child advocacy center in the northeast part of the state and was impressed with the compassion, efficiency and effectiveness of this response to such a pernicious problem.

Like many worthwhile programs, however, Child Advocacy Centers lack the funding needed to fully carry out their mission. In difficult budget times like we are experiencing, this need is particularly acute.

I intend to offer a bill in the near future to try to address this situation. My bill will transfer funds that have accumulated, unused, in the DARE vehicle license plate fund. By way of background, for many years, the DARE program (Drug Awareness Resistance Education) was administered through the Commission on Crime and Delinquency with an annual appropriation in the budget. The appropriation was supplemented by funds accumulated from the sale of a special DARE license plate by PennDOT.

In the 2011-2012 budget, funding of the DARE program ceased at the recommendation of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. The Commission determined that DARE is not an effective universal program to reduce drug use among young people. There was no appropriation for DARE in the current budget either. Assets in the DARE license fund are restricted however to use by the Commission for the DARE program. Though, today few DARE plates are requested, more than $400,000 remains in the fund.

Under my bill, the sale of DARE license plates will be discontinued and all money in the DARE license plate fund will be transferred to the Commission on Crime and Delinquency to provide grants to Child Advocacy Centers. I believe this small amount of money can make a significant impact in the development of these programs and the services they provide to our most vulnerable citizens.

I hope you will join me in cosponsoring this legislation. Thank you for your interest and support.

Introduced as HB89