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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: April 22, 2016 03:48 PM
From: Senator Judith L. Schwank
To: All Senate members
Subject: Victim Services Funding process
I will shortly reintroduce legislation to increase the flexibility of the Department of Human Services in contracting for taxpayer services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. I previously proposed this in the 2011-2012 General Assembly.
The Commonwealth now funds the local and state organizations involved in providing these services with more than $26 million in state dollars, plus an additional $9 million in federal funding. I believe the state should do all it can to ensure that these funds serve victims with minimal administrative costs and maximum accountability. DHS is now required to fund the services through separate contracts with the state organizations for domestic violence and sexual assault services. However, most local organizations providing these services serve both populations, resulting in excessive and duplicative administrative costs and requirements on the local programs. Additionally, an audit revealed this week by DHS disclosed concerns about the operation of the state organization for domestic violence victims that could have a strong impact on the local county programs who directly serve the victims.
My proposal will both authorize and require DHS to provide funding to these services by the most effective means, whether a single or multiple state-level contracts or by direct contracting with local organizations. I hope you will consider joining in this effort.

Introduced as SB1309