Archive for Friday, July 7, 2006

Funding cut threatens Alliance

July 7, 2006

— A Leavenworth agency that provides round-the-clock services to victims of domestic violence, stalking and sexual abuse is in a funding crisis.

Kay Andersen, executive director of Alliance Against Family Violence, told a news conference on Friday the agency had been notified its funding from the federal Rural Domestic Violence and Child Victimization Fund - amounting to $250,000 - would not be forthcoming.

No reason was given for the nonrenewal of the grant, except that the Alliance's latest application poorly defined what "community" it served, Andersen told the news conference, which was conducted at 1 p.m. Friday near the entrance to the Leavenworth County Justice Center. In addition to the media, attendees included law enforcement officials from Lansing, Leavenworth and Leavenworth County, area politicians, candidates and a phalanx of the Alliance's supporters.

Andersen said loss of the grant money - one third of the Alliance's annual budget - could mean layoff of eight people at the agency. Services that would be curtailed include police-response advocates, who assist crime victims at the crime scene and beyond, play therapy for child victims of domestic violence, case management and outreach.

Lee Doehring, Leavenworth's chief of police, said loss of those services, especially the police-response advocates, would be devastating.

"The loss of the funding and the loss of the police response advocates presents the potential for a public safety crisis," he said.

Their work, he said, has "unequivocally" prevented aggravated batteries, rapes and murders.

Andersen urged community members to donate time or money to the agency; in the absence of the ability to donate, she asked that anyone interested in helping the agency call the offices of Congressman Jim Ryun and U.S. Sens. Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts to urge reconsideration by the Justice Department of the grant application.

For more on this story, see Thursday's Current.

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