Agenda Report # 61
SUBJECT: 2018-19 Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Competitive Grant #2 Onsite Counseling Program
INITIATED BY: District Attorney/Victim-Witness Assistance Program
Recommendation: Approval is requested to authorize the District Attorney’s Victim-Witness Assistance Program to submit and if approved, accept funding totaling $50,000 with the federal portion of $40,000 from the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council allocated in the FY19 Budget to provide funding for Crime Victim Assistance in the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit from January 1, 2019 to September 30, 2019. Along with a 20% Total Match of $10,000 all in the form of an In-Kind Match of volunteer hours, it is requested that the multi-governmental fund be amended by the amount awarded plus the local match, if approved.
Background: In July of 1989, the Office of the District Attorney began operating a Crime Victim Assistance Program. In October of 1992, the Victim-Witness Assistance Program was awarded the first Crime Victim Assistance Grant, thereby broadening the program for the provision of basic services. In July of 1995, additional funds were received from the 5% Crime Victim Surcharge Fund, thus allowing the program to expand services to all 6 counties within the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit. Successful grant allocations since that time have sustained the program. The office currently employs 13.6 staff members; twelve full-time advocates, 3 part-time and one portion-paid.
Analysis: If approved for FY19, the Criminal Justice Coordinating Georgia will allocate $40,000 to Muscogee County Government to support the Victim-Witness Assistance Program for the grant year January 1, 2019 through September 30, 2019. The Criminal Justice Coordinating Council requires a total match of $10,000; however, we expect this entire amount to be met with the use of volunteer hours specified as In-Kind contributions.
The total amount of $50,000 represents the contract fee to enter an agreement with a licensed professional who will oversee an on-site mental health program for our crime victims who are otherwise unable to obtain services. $2,000 of the total funding is allowed for office supplies for program structure and maintenance.
Grant Funded Licensed Professional Counselor – Annual Contract - $45,000 or $3,750 per month
Financial Considerations: Contract with a professionally licensed therapist with valid medical/malpractice insurance to create and oversee an in-house mental health program offering counseling to our crime victims. Total funding is $50,000 with Federal allocation of $40,000 and $10,000 from the required In-Kind Match in the form of volunteer hours.
Projected Annual Fiscal Impact Statement: There will be no annual fiscal impact as a result of this grant.
Legal Considerations: Georgia Law requires the District Attorney provide extensive services, information and notification to crime victims. (O.C.G.A.-17-17-1) The District Attorney is solely and directly responsible for complying with this law as mandated by the Victims’ Bill of Rights. Legislature acknowledges that this mandate places additional burdens on prosecutors and have designed laws enabling utilization of the 5% Crime Victim Surcharge Fund to assist in easing said burdens.
Recommendations/Actions: Authorize submission and, if approved, acceptance of a grant in the amount of $40,000 from the Georgia Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, to provide counseling services to those crime victims who have been previously underserved. This action will provide the funding for a contracted licensed professional to provide on-site counseling to crime victims for at least the next three years in the form of an annual continuation grant.