As the second full day of the National Children’s Alliance Leadership Conference comes to a close, I wanted to give you an update on your Michigan delegations visits to Capitol Hill. Three members of your Michigan delegation and I went to Capitol Hill this afternoon for meetings at the offices of Senator Stabenow and Congressman Hoekstra. We also made plans to deliver information packets to other Congressional offices.
We discussed a number of issues during these meetings and provided information about the role of Children’s Advocacy Centers and the importance of continuing the work that is accomplished at each CAC in Michigan. We offered the support of the Michigan Chapter to provide additional information and be a resource to the representative’s office on child abuse issues.
We also discussed that we were requesting assistance in maintaining funding for victims of child abuse. We asked for assistance maintaining the funding of the Victims of Child Abuse Act which was appropriated $22.5 million for FY2010 which represented an increase of $2.5 million over the prior year. We requested assistance in maintaining level funding, which means $22.5 million for FY2011. During these uncertain financial times, the need for CAC services across the country is increasing. We reminded our representatives that any cut to the Victims of Child Abuse Act would be devastating for many CACs and while we do appreciate the difficulties of the federal budget, we are requesting our members of Congress work to maintain our funding at its current levels.
We also encouraged our members of Congress to sign on to the Victims’ Rights Caucus which is a bi-partisan House caucus. The Caucus has the goal of representing crime victims through introduction of legislation that reflects the interest and rights of crime victims. The Caucus also provides an ongoing forum for dialogue between Congress and national victim assistance organizations such as the National Children’s Alliance. The Caucus also seeks opportunities for public education initiatives to foster a better understanding of the impact of crime on victims.
We feel that these visits were very productive and we look forward to continuing to build relationships with these and other Congressional leaders to represent you and your organizations interest in meeting the needs of victims of child abuse in Michigan.