The Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC) is important but often operates under the radar. CJCC serves as what’s called a State Administering Agency for various federal grants and important state funded programs. Over the next two columns, we will take a closer look at some of the grants administered by CJCC, which include federal grants such as the Victims of Crime Assistance Program and state programs.
CJCC is at the forefront of some of the new ways the State carries out justice, as well as serving as the chief resource for compensation of victims, among other valuable purposes.
As a state administering agency, CJCC is also responsible for ensuring that all sub grantees comply with Federal guidelines. A large part of the agency’s work is not only finding grant opportunities, but also writing the grant applications and guidelines to make sure that all money being administered is going to the appropriate sub grantees. Organizations that receive funds from CJCC range from local police departments to sexual assault centers and accountability courts.
Due to this wide range of recipients, CJCC has a large footprint in the state’s criminal justice system that can go unnoticed. Let’s take a look at some of the grants administered by CJCC, what they do for the community, and who is eligible to receive the funding.
This week we will focus on the state-administered grant programs as well as the Victims of Crime Assistance Grant, or VOCA.
Crime victim compensation and VOCA
CJCC administers two funds to ensure that victims of crimes are compensated. The first is the Crime Victims Compensation Emergency Fund, which is a state funding source made up mostly of probation and parole fees. CVCEF covers victims’ basic needs, such as medical, funeral, and counseling costs. The federal government also funds victim compensation through the Victims of Crime Act. The Department of Justice awards the state 60 percent of what the state spent on crime victim compensation in the previous year.
The Victims of Crime Act Assistance Grant Program, a federal program also created by VOCA, is more focused on assisting the programs that aid victims of crime, such as sexual assault centers and child advocacy centers.
According to CJCC, VOCA is used to sustain service levels to victims across the state, ensure that crime victims have access to adequate services as guaranteed to them by the Victims of Crime Bill of Rights, and to make sure victims have access to all core services.
The federal guideline says that 30 percent of the state’s grant must be used to provide services for victims of sexual assault, victims of domestic violence, and victims of child abuse. The rest is eligible to administer as the agency sees fit, as long as they meet other federal guidelines.
Agencies eligible to receive VOCA funding include local governments, non-profits, or non-governmental agencies that provide direct services to victims of violent crimes and in some instances property cases such as larceny, burglary, and identity fraud. The federal government recently announced a $2.2 billion increase in VOCA awards and CJCC has been holding meetings with stakeholders across the state on how additional funding coming to Georgia can best be spent to benefit the state’s victims.
Grants to domestic violence shelters and sexual assault centers
CJCC recently became the agency responsible for administering state-funded grants to domestic violence shelters and sexual assault centers. In FY15 the state awarded $10,998,442 to 46 different domestic violence shelters, as well as $654,994 to 23 different sexual assault centers.
In the FY16 general budget, the General Assembly approved an additional $230,000 in funding for sexual assault centers, which breaks down to an additional $10,000 per center. The state also took steps to streamline how those funds were distributed in the FY16 general budget.
In the past, an administering agency approved and awarded the grants, but all funds came from the Department of Human Services. Now all of the funds will be housed within CJCC, so the process of disbursing funds should be more efficient.
The efficient issuance of these funds is a high priority for the Senate, and we will continue to explore options for additional funding, as well as improvements to make the process as efficient as possible.
Next week: A continued look at CJCC grants
I may be reached at
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E-mail at Jack.Hill@senate.ga.gov
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