Time can feel like a roll of tissue paper – it unfurls faster and faster the less paper that is on the roll. 2024, the brand-new year, snuck in on us just like that. The simple fact is that we are all busy and often rushed and that makes it seem like time is fleeting. The last four years were hurried and haphazard much of the time. We all contended with a pandemic, masks and more masks, vaccines, social distancing, work from home and now back to the real world with the added uncertainty of COVID and other mysterious illnesses lurking around every corner. And lest we forget the frightful global turmoil that tries to steal everyone’s personal peace. Yet, we persevere.
“Hope is being able
to see that there
is light despite all
of the darkness.”
At the Center for Prevention of Abuse (CFPA) we are no stranger to the realization that life can be unpredictable. Despite thorough planning there will always be contingencies which we could not have scheduled. Yet, CFPA is committed to navigating challenges with determination and resilience, always with your support. CFPA’s approach is to pilot the organization while being continuously mindful of uncertainty. We have become adept to this model and the agency remains an excellent investment. A full 91 cents of every $1 raised by CFPA goes directly to the agency’s mission-focused and client-centered work, directly benefiting the people who we serve all day, every day.
For the whole of Fiscal Year 2024 (FY2024) and for the near future, CFPA and other agencies who collaborate with and care for survivors of violence have been disadvantaged due to new uncertainty. All of us are experiencing what could be an overwhelming shortfall in funding because of an unexpected loss of support from the Federal government. The Crime Victims Fund (CVF) was established by the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) of 1984 and is administered by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime. The CVF is financed by non-taxpayer dollars such as the collection of federal crime fines, forfeitures, and special assessments. Nationally, the CVF helps almost four million victims of crime every year, and that includes many people right here at home — friends, neighbors, families, and colleagues.
In recent years, deposits to the CVF have decreased dramatically which in turn has diminished VOCA funds that are made available to states and awarded to service providers. As a result, the Center for Prevention of Abuse, and others like us, are experiencing major funding loss from the Federal government. By way of example, CFPA will receive $555,479 less from the CVF this fiscal year, which is roughly a 50% cut in VOCA funds. Surmounting the FY2024 funding loss is the news that VOCA could see a larger amount of loss by the time Congress passes a delayed Federal budget for this fiscal year.
Thankfully, with the help of Illinois Representative Leader Jehan Gordon-Booth, a strong and longtime supporter of those who greatly benefit from this agency’s care, we can plug the large funding gap this year. If that gap number grows larger because Congress does not appropriate enough funding to the CVF, or the severe cuts continue for the next few years, the loss we will experience will be apparent. Sadly, the future for many agencies who care for victims of crime remains undefined because the foreseeable future balance of the CVF is unreliable at best.
The touchstone for CFPA has always been our supporters, like you. For that we are deeply grateful. With your well wishes and generous support, and a solid leadership team at the helm, the correct mindset, and careful planning, high impact human service organizations like CFPA can traverse through most storms and safeguard their organizations against damaging risks, all while still seeding future success.
If you are compelled to communicate with your members of Congress on this issue, you can find your Representative or Senator and their contact information at house.gov or senate.gov. You can choose to join CFPA in asking your Federal elected officials to wholeheartedly thwart this crisis for victims and sufficiently shore up VOCA dollars now and in the future.