VOCA 2013-2015 LPB Process Q & A
- Is there a moratorium on funding new programs with VOCA dollars?
No. The moratorium was lifted in 2011 during the last VOCA funding cycle. New agencies may apply for VOCA funds. County LPB's cannot exclude programs from applying. LPB’s should ensure applications submitted to PCCD meet eligibility requirements.
To be eligible for VOCA funds, an organization must:
The LPB must objectively and fairly review each of the funding proposals provided to the LPB, consider the proposals on their merits, and make a recommendation to PCCD on the distribution of the funds which is to be forwarded to the PCCD by the relevant deadline. LPB recommendations should ensure the coordination of services, minimize duplication, encourage the provisions of basic services to all victims of crime and promote the optimal use of limited victim service dollars in their county.
- Have a history of a minimum of two years of experience in serving victims of crime as the principal mission of the organization.
- Derive at least 25% of funding from non-federal sources.
- Demonstrate a record of providing effective services to crime victims; including having the support and approval of its services by the community.
- Have a history of providing direct services in a cost-effective manner.
- Use volunteers unless there is compelling reason to waive this requirement and have a waiver granted by PCCD (refer to Page 19 of the LPB Guidelines).
- Promote, within the community, coordinated public and private efforts to aid crime victims. Coordination efforts qualify an organization to receive VOCA funds, but are not activities that can be supported with VOCA funds.
- Assist victims in seeking crime victims’ compensation benefits. Such assistance must, at a minimum, include identifying and notifying crime victims of the availability of compensation and referring them for further assistance.
- Provide services to victims of federal crimes on the same basis as victims of state crimes.
- Provide free services to crime victims through the VOCA-funded project.
- Maintain confidentiality of client-counselor information and confidentiality of research information.
- If a religiously affiliated organization, ensure that services are offered to all crime victims without regard to religious affiliation and that the receipt of services is not contingent upon participation in a religious activity or event.
- Attest that they do not discriminate against victims because they disagree with the way the state is presenting the criminal case (as amended to Section 1404 (b)(1) of the Victims of Crime Act of 1984 by the USA Patriot Act, P.L. 107-56).
- Meet applicable program standards established by PCCD.
- What information should the LPB receive from applicants programs to review and consider for funding decisions?
It is suggested that LPB members receive at a minimum the following items from the applicant:
It is also suggested that each applicant:
- Proposed Budget
- Assessment Plan (narrative of what they will accomplish with funding)
- Most recent Compliance Letter from PCCD or "relevant organization"
- Profile of Victims’ Services Survey
- VOCA Eligibility Verification
- Make a verbal presentation to the LPB
- Update LPB on Program Activities. As part of the update on program activities, it should include a review of the services provided to clients as well as number of clients served under most recent VOCA grant.
- Any additional data the LPB identifies that would be beneficial.
- Should the LPB members utilize the Profile of Victims’ Services Survey and LPB Program Summary Form?
Yes, each applicant and all other county victim service agencies are responsible for completing and submitting the Profile of Victims’ Services Survey prior to the scheduled LPB meeting to the LPB chair. The chair is responsible for summarizing all the surveys received from the applicants into the LPB Program Summary Form.
Programs should record the number of clients who were provided services in the top half survey. As a reminder, Public Presentations is an indirect services and therefore should not be included in this section as a service provided to victims.
The bottom half of the survey should reflect what services/activities are supported with VOCA funds.
The form is available to all applicants on the PCCD website. http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt?open=512&objID=5419&&PageID=495920&le=4&css=L4&mode=2
- What should the LPB ensure when making their decision on funding?
When making any funding decision the LPB should objectively and fairly review each of the funding proposals based on the proposal’s merits.
All Recommendations should ensure the following:
- coordination of services;
- minimize duplication;
- encourage the provisions of basic services to all victims of crime; and
- promote optimal use of limited victim service dollars in the county.
In addition recommendations should be guided by the following:
- analysis of need and potential impact;
- cost effectiveness;
- compliance with the VOCA funding guidelines; and
- coordination with existing service delivery system
- What establishes a quorum?
A quorum shall consist of a majority of the current members and their proxies, where permitted, listed for the local policy board (required and optional). If voting will be occurring, a quorum should be established prior to the beginning of the meeting. If no quorum is reached at a meeting, the application(s) will not be processed by PCCD.
It is important for PCCD staff to know whether the board allows a member to designate a proxy to attend the meeting in her/his place. If this is the policy of the board, the minutes shall reflect the identity of the proxy and the member of the board that the proxy is representing.
- What establishes a conflict of interest?
Each Local Policy Board must adopt a Conflict of Interest Policy to establish criteria to consider when determining whether a conflict of interest exists during the decision making process. The Conflict of Interest Policy must adhere to Section 8 of the LPB Requirements. Specifically the requirement states, "No official or employee of a State or unit of local government or a Non Governmental recipient/subrecipient shall participate personally through decisions, approval, disapproval, recommendation, the rendering of advice, investigation, or otherwise in any proceeding, application, request for a ruling or other determination, contract, award, cooperative agreement, claim, controversy, or other particular matter in which award funds (including program income or other funds generated by Federally funded activities) are used, where to his/her knowledge, he/she or his/her immediate family, partners, organization other than public agency in which he/she is servicing as an officer, director, trustee, partner, or employee, or any person or organization with whom he/she is negotiating or has any arrangement concerning prospective employment, has a financial interest, or has less than an arm’s-length transaction."
Furthermore, the requirement states, "in the use of VOCA, RASA and/or VOJO funds, officials or employees of State or local units of government and nongovernmental recipient/subrecipients shall avoid any action which might create the appearance:
- That his or her official position has been used for private gain;
- That preferential treatment has been given to any person;
- That the official or employee has acted without independence or impartiality;
- That an official decision has been made outside of official channels; and
- Nor shall any recipient/subrecipient take any action which could result in a loss of public confidence in the integrity of the government or the program".
- What are eligible services that VOCA can fund?
The primary purpose of VOCA is to support direct services to victims of crime.
Examples include: Assistance in Filing Compensation Claims (is required by all applicants); Criminal Justice Support/Advocacy; Emergency Financial Assistance; Emergency Legal Advocacy; Follow-up Counseling; Information/Referral(in-person); Case Management; Hotline; Personal Advocacy; Shelter/Safe House; Support Groups; Telephone Contact Information and Referral and Therapy. A complete list of VOCA eligible direct services definitions maybe found in Appendix "B" of the VOCA funding announcement.
Certain VOCA related indirect services and expenses are also eligible. (For a complete listing of these services and expenses please access pages 7-9 of the VOCA 2013-2015 funding announcement. Ineligible activities are listed on pages 9-10 of the VOCA funding Announcement.
VOCA 2013-2015 Funding Announcement can be accessed on the web: http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/funding/5424/more_page4/527110
- Who needs to complete the "Profile of Victim Services Survey?" Is it only to be filled out by the agencies receiving VOCA funding?
The survey form should be completed by every program in the county providing victim services. The survey should provide the board with a snap shot of all the county's victim service agencies.
- If the policy board is not sure if a request for funding really meets the eligibility requirements of VOCA and the LPB approves it, will PCCD still deny the funding request if it is not actually eligible?
If during the review process the membership has a specific question PCCD is available to answer any questions. PCCD staff will be reviewing all applications for eligibility. If we have questions regarding a particular applicant we will contact the LPB chair and respective applicant.
- Does the PCCD staff person who reviews the grants from a county also review the Policy Board minutes from that county?
Yes, the same PCCD staff person reviews the meeting minutes and the applications from the same county.
- Can an LPB voice concerns with the eligibility of applicant in the board's meeting minutes leaving the final determination of eligibility up to PCCD?
It is the responsibility of the LPB to determine eligibility and to make a final funding recommendation to PCCD. PCCD staff is considered to be the second reviewer. PCCD can not consider any applicant who hasn’t been determined by the LPB as being eligible under the funding for which they are applying for.
- Does the LPB need to advertise the availability of Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Funding?
Yes, the LPB Chair should inform all local victim service agencies currently funded and/or eligible to provide VOCA services in the county.
- Does the Synopsis of Currently Funded Victim Service Programs Form still need to be completed as part of the annual LPB Orientation Packet review process?
Yes, the forms should still be part of the LPB Orientation Packet Review, but it no longer needs to be submitted to us even if a change has occurred in the form. This form is another tool for the orientation of LPB members and the review process.