NYSCADV MEMORANDUM OF OPPOSITION
NYSCADV STRONGLY OPPOSES THE GOVERNOR’S ELIMINATION OF TANF NON-RESIDENTIAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SERVICES FUNDING FROM THE ’15-‘16 BUDGET
NYSCADV urges the New York State Legislature to prevent the elimination of TANF Non-Residential Domestic Violence Services Funding in the FY ’15-’16 Executive Budget, and to provide $6 million in funding to support these critical services for domestic violence victims.
Non-residential domestic violence services are essential to New York State's response to domestic violence. These services are mandated in every county (per the New York State Social Service Regulations) including the following:
- a telephone hotline providing immediate crisis intervention and safety planning for victims;
- information and referral services to community services that address the myriad of needs that victims of domestic violence have;
- advocacy on behalf of victims of domestic violence to other community services including the criminal justice and civil legal systems(ex. police, prosecutors, family court, community corrections) and social services system (ex. financial support, housing support, & medical assistance);
- individual and group counseling services; and
- culturally competent community education and outreach (NYCRR Title 18 §462.4).
Non-residential services also include the following optional services:
- children's services like child care and counseling;
- peer support groups;
- transportation services for victims to help them access legal and medical services, and secure housing, employment and public assistance (NYCRR 18 §462.4); and
- translation services providing interpretation of any oral or written information for non-English speaking victims of domestic violence (NYCRR 18 §462.4).
All of the services listed above are tremendously valuable to survivors of domestic violence and their children. Yet, the New York State Budget provides only one dedicated stream to support these services - the TANF non-residential funds - which the Governor’s FY ‘15-‘16 executive budget proposes to eliminate entirely. The TANF non-residential services funding, originally allocated during FY '00-'01 in the amount of $3 million, was created to provide supplemental assistance to help non-residential domestic violence services providers meet "the increased demand for non-residential domestic violence services (1)."
DEMAND FOR SERVICES CONTINUES TO INCREASE AS FUNDING DECREASES
The demand for non-residential domestic violence services has continually increased since the inception of this funding stream (by approximately 40% since FY '00-'01) (2). The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) conducts an annual census of domestic violence services each year. The last census numbers from 2013 show that New York State has the 3rd highest demand for domestic violence services in the country. The 2013 New York State census report (3) showed that in one day, 4,589 victims were served. Of those, 2,102 were requests for non-residential assistance and services, including counseling, legal advocacy, and children‟s support groups. On that same day, there were 572 unmet requests for services. The top causes for these unmet services were staff availability and funding cuts. Across New York, 119 staff positions had been eliminated that year, so there were fewer advocates to answer calls for help.
To completely eliminate funding for non-residential domestic violence services in light of this great demand is unconscionable.
NON-RESIDENTIAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SERVICES SAVE THE STATE MONEY AND KEEP PEOPLE IN THEIR COMMUNITIES
It is estimated that in one year, domestic violence caused “$4.1 billion in the direct costs of medical and mental health care and nearly $1.8 billion in indirect costs of lost productivity (4).” While our mission is to ultimately prevent domestic violence from ever being perpetrated in the first place, until that goal is achieved we must have enough services available to meet the needs of those who have been victimized. Non-residential domestic violence services are an essential component of that effort.
Non-residential domestic violence services are also cost effective. Keeping people safe in their communities reduces the need for costly emergency shelter services. Non-residential programs support the self sufficiency of victims of domestic violence by empowering them to access the myriad of services that can increase their safety and security, including help navigating the criminal justice and legal systems, help obtaining financial assistance, and help finding permanent safe and affordable housing. In turn, these services reduce the need for the more expensive option of shelter.
INCREASE THE TANF NON-RESIDENTIAL SERVICES FUNDING TO $6 MILLION
Last year's TANF Non-Residential Services allocation of $2.46 million was a welcomed increase after facing years of continuous cuts. But it equates to only a little more than $39,000 per county. While every bit of money is helpful, this is hardly a supplement that could come close to meeting the ever increasing need, and is still lower than the original $3 million appropriation made in FY '00 – '01. In addition, during 2014, many domestic violence service providers across New York State faced dramatic cuts when state appropriations disbursement mechanisms dramatically shifted. To make up for these gaps, we are asking that the TANF Non-Residential Services Funding be increased to $6 million to both offset the new funding gap and to meet the ever increasing need that continuously impacts domestic violence programs.
Support victims of domestic violence by adequately funding the services that they rely upon for safety and support.
- New York State Office for Children and Family Services (n.d.) Contracts, Grants, & RFPs: Part K-1 Performance and Outcome-Based Provisions for TANF-Funded Programs. Retrieved on January 22, 2015 from http://ocfs.ny.gov/main/bcm/tanf/dv/
- According to Annual Reports published by OCFS: 33,142 adults and children received non-residential domestic violence services in New York State in 2001 and approximately 46,00 adults and children received non-residential domestic violence services in 2012.
- National Network to End Domestic Violence (2013) Domestic Violence Counts – New York Summary. Retrieved on January 21, 2015 from http://nnedv.org/downloads/Census/DVCounts2013/State_Summaries/DVCounts13_StateSummary_NY.pdf
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2003). Intimate Partner Violence: Consequences. Retrieved on January 22, 2015 from http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/intimatepartnerviolence/consequences.html