The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Opinion

November 1, 2012

CLARK: What does regional consolidation mean for us?

CLINTON — We at the YWCA are concerned that – at a time when victims have suffered with domestic abuse, sexual assault or other violent crimes – their lives aren’t made more difficult at a time when they need help.

What is happening?

Government funding has been reduced – at both a federal and state level – for services to victims of crime.  Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller is proposing a reorganization that will change the way domestic violence and sexual assault services are funded and delivered throughout the state of Iowa.

Simply put, the state is planning to create six regions.  Funds will be distributed to each region.  Service providers in each region – including the YWCA Domestic Violence / Sexual Assault Resource Center of Clinton and Jackson counties – are being asked to develop regional service plans based on a funding formula that will include four comprehensive service contracts for each region.

The service contracts include: Shelter-based services; domestic-abuse comprehensive services; sexual-abuse comprehensive services; and culturally specific services.

We are still uncertain as to how this will play out.  Services will still be provided, but possibly at a reduced level. How much has funding declined? According to the Attorney General’s office, federal funding for Iowa’s crime victim assistance programs has declined by 18 percent – or nearly $1.5 million – over the past three fiscal years. State funding has dropped by seven percent – or nearly $214,000 – over the same time period.

Does this mean shelters will close and services will no longer be provided?

Some shelters have already closed around the state and some service providers have closed their doors.

The YWCA serves Clinton and Jackson counties and has been awarded a contract by the Iowa Attorney General’s Office to provide services to victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse  through June 2013.  Our advocates are certified through the Iowa Coalition against Domestic Violence and the Iowa Coalition of Sexual Abuse.  All services are free and confidential.  Our program will continue to serve these communities by providing shelter, court and medical advocacy, options counseling, transportation, prevention education, information and referral, and transitional housing.    

The YWCA is the only certified victim service provider in these two counties.  These vital services have been a part of the YWCA of Clinton mission since 1978.

The YWCA of Clinton and the board of directors are strongly committed to considering all options, funding sources, and opportunities for fiscal year 2013-2014.  We are actively listening to our Coalitions against Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault Response Teams, community members, clientele base, and other service providers in the bi-county area to best meet the needs of our communities.  We’re working with organizations throughout a 14-county area called the Southeast region, stretching from Clinton down to Keokuk and west to Iowa City.  This also includes the Quad-Cities, Muscatine and Burlington.

The Attorney General says there has been a drop in the use of shelters around the state.

We, at the YWCA, feel this statement is misleading.  While we agree we have been able to serve less people in our shelters, it is not because our clientele do not want to access this option; it is because our shelter is at capacity and has no room.  

Because of the economy, some of the women who come to the shelter stay longer as advocates help them search for jobs so they can be independent. We help place them in jobs and coordinate community services so they can live independently. Perhaps this is why it appears that fewer women are being served in shelters around the state – but we have not seen a decline in demand.

Miller says we have to come up with new ways of delivering better and more cost-effective services for our state’s crime victims.

Those of us who are providing these services work every day to ensure that our services are cost-effective.  Funding has decreased in recent years while demand has increased. Nonprofits across the state are stretching to make ends meet.  Our staff is extremely dedicated to the individuals and families we serve.   Additionally, you will see advocates involved in all aspects of our communities from coalition building, prevention education in our schools, and developing response teams to coordinate better service delivery.   Our agency will continue to listen to our community and stakeholders.  Over the next few months our Board of Directors will be making decisions regarding the impact of regionalization.   We are fully funded, our shelter is open, and our program continues to serve the Clinton and Jackson community through June 2013.  

For more information  contact me at 242-2118 or at crisisdirector@ywcaclinton.org. 

Ronelle Clark is the YWCA Crisis Services Director.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Basketball stars may linger on campus a while longer

    The NBA seems serious about raising its minimum age, which could signal the end of the one-and-done era in college basketball.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Race card season again? After years of mostly hedging any suggestion that racism has anything to do with President Barack Obama's ferocious opposition, there's a new racial etiquette in town. Top Democrats are slipping off the kid gloves. "To a significant extent, the Repub

    April 21, 2014

  • Report suggests a reasonable approach Illinois has long had the most units of government in the nation - 6,963 at last count. Do we need so many taxing districts to provide governmental services across the Land of Lincoln? Supporters and opponents of the status quo can both find somethin

    April 21, 2014

  • Stand up against child abuse April is National Child Abuse Month and I would like to take a moment to share that our children are precious and Clinton County has one of the highest in the state when it comes to children who have been abused. You are able to check the statistics

    April 19, 2014

  • Bills to move quickly in final days Tuesday marks the 100th and last day of this scheduled session. After Tuesday, clerks will be sent home and legislators driving and living expenses will no longer be paid by the state. That usually means remaining legislation and Fiscal Year 2015 bu

    April 19, 2014

  • Reducing money's influence in politics The (Crystal Lake) Northwest Herald There's no doubt that money influences politics -- in big ways. Big money influences politics in even bigger ways, sometimes leading to corruption. That's why there are federal caps on the amount of money someone c

    April 19, 2014

  • Looking for love in all the wrong places This classic Dear Margo column was published in April 2008. DEAR MARGO: I'm 30 years old and have been married to an incredible, loving, caring man for 10 years. We have a beautiful family and we adore our children. Our sex life was pretty boring at

    April 19, 2014

  • Letter to the Editor: Local firefighters' union speaks out on proposed contract

    Dear citizens/taxpayers of Clinton:
    The members of Local 609 feel that it is our duty to inform the citizens of Clinton that the article titled “‘Fair offer’ differences” in the April 9, 2014 edition of the Clinton Herald was full of inaccurate statements regarding our negotiated contract proposal with the city. These incorrect statements could impact the use of your city funds negatively and unduly influence our elected representatives. So, we would like to address these points, as follows:

    April 18, 2014

  • Local firefighters' union speaks out on proposed contract Dear citizens/taxpayers of Clinton: The members of Local 609 feel that it is our duty to inform the citizens of Clinton that the article titled "'Fair offer' differences" in the April 9, 2014 edition of the Clinton Herald was full of inaccurate state

    April 18, 2014

  • The lesson of 'Camp David' The line between determination and delusion can be obscure. Sometimes, the distinction emerges only in retrospect, like a Polaroid image slowly appearing. In other instances, the difference between productive grit and self-defeating obsession is an a

    April 18, 2014

Poll

With the Clinton County Justice Coordinating Commission and the Clinton County Board of Supervisors discussing proposals to construct a new jail, do you think the time has come for Clinton County to construct such a facility?

Yes
No
     View Results
Facebook