By: Letters to the Editor, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune
Re: Budget cuts hit aid for victims of domestic violence, A-4, Jan. 4.
Days before Christmas, the state Department of Children and Family Services informed Crescent House that their contract had been cut by $76,000. That same day several families received services -- including a mom and her children who had been terrorized by their father with a loaded gun. These children were traumatized and scared, but after hours of care and quality services, they left with bicycles and toys from Santa and arrangements for immediate safety.
In Orleans Parish, Crescent House is the only agency providing lifesaving services to victims of domestic violence. This program provides a 24-hour, 365-days-a-year crisis line that often is the only linkage to safety for victims.
Crescent House is on the forefront in implementing best practices, including using hotels for those in imminent danger when shelters are filled. Since 2007, we have operated the New Orleans Family Justice Center, a comprehensive victim services center offers services from 10 partner agencies operating under one roof. The Family Justice Center serves more than 2,000 victims a year, as opposed to about 200 in the shelter program.
For the state to reduce $1 million federal Temporary Assistance for Need Families block grants from domestic violence programs across the state is devastating to victims and children and brings no savings to the state budget.
Transitioning to more cost-effective services is supported by all of us in order to expand service capacity for all victims, not for reducing already strained budgets. These cuts devastate services to the most vulnerable in our state and should be reconsidered. It is my hope that the public will demand it.
Mary Claire Landry
New Orleans Family Justice Center