Lotus receives $1.29 million in Victims of Crime Act funds
Grant funds continue to play a key role in allowing Paducah’s Lotus Children’s Advocacy and Sexual Violence Resource Center to expand its services and build a support network across the Purchase counties it serves.
The Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet recently announced it is awarding a $1.29 million grant to Lotus. While the amount is a 35% reduction from the previous grant year, significant increases the six previous years have helped the organization ensure services to survivors, children and families are not impacted.
“Decisions at the national and state levels have resulted in decreases to the award amounts granted to victim service agencies across the nation this year,”
– Lori Wells Brown Lotus executive director.
Lotus serves more than 1,200 survivors, children, and families
“As we adapt our programs to enhance our core services, we want our community — and most importantly, survivors, children, and families — to know that Lotus continues to meet all people in the Purchase area who have been impacted by child abuse and sexual violence with a path to safety, healing, and justice.”
Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grants are the largest source of federal funding for victim service organizations like Lotus. The reduction in funding was anticipated as deposits into the Crime Victims Fund (CVF), from which VOCA grants are drawn, are at a historic low due to changes in the Department of Justice’s prosecutorial decisions.
Although President Joe Biden signed into law the VOCA Fix Act to Sustain the Crime Victims Fund Act of 2021 in July, victim service agencies like Lotus will still experience VOCA budget shortfalls while the CVF is replenished.
“We want to make sure the communities in the Purchase area know the VOCA Fix Act was passed to help bring more stability to the fund,” Brown said. “The other important message is the impact of the reduced funding will not adversely affect the services that we provide.”
“For us, the increases over the last six years have really set us up for success knowing that the funds would level off. We’ve really had opportunities to impact the funding that we’ve received by expanding our partnerships, both for financial stewardship and volunteer engagement.” – Lori Wells Brown Lotus executive director.
Even with the reduction in funding, Lotus has been able to increase its staffing by 426% over the last six years, and make infrastructure improvements including more than a million-and-a-half dollars in capital projects and continuing to design its facilities for specialized service delivery, Brown said.
The Custom Children’s Advocacy Center Mobile Unit
“It’s currently being built right now in partnership with Winnebago Specialty Division. We hope to have that mobile unit delivered before the end of the year and launch those services at the start of the new year,” she said.
“VOCA has funded this mobile unit project and it’s the first of its kind in Kentucky. Our mobile unit innovates our outreach services by meeting kids and families where they are and expanding access through the eight counties of the Purchase area.”
Brown said the Purchase area is fortunate to have communities who believe in strong families, protecting children and supporting victims.
While many are supportive of Lotus’ efforts, Kentucky still ranks No. 1 in the nation for the highest rates of child abuse and neglect.
“That’s something that all of us as Kentuckians should know and take responsibility in changing,” she said.
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