Commissioners OK Grant Modifications, Application for Victim Witness Program

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CLEARFIELD – Yesterday, the Clearfield County Commissioners approved modifications to the Victim Witness program’s current Victims of Crime Act and Rights and Services Act grants.

The commissioners also approved a new application for the Victim Witness program for Pennsylvania’s RASA funds for the upcoming 2015-16 year.

VOCA is a federal grant providing for direct services to victims of all crime, said Victim Witness Program Director Margie Rosselli. The county’s Victim Witness program, she said, received $97,587 for July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2015.

According to her, due to an increase in the 2014 federal VOCA award, Clearfield County will receive an additional $4,765 for July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015. These additional funds, she said, will be used in the current Victim Witness budget for personnel, benefits, supplies, operating costs, etc.

Rosselli noted that the VOCA funding increase doesn’t allow for any additional personnel or supplies/operation. She explained that it will simply allow her to adjust the current budget for different percentages, which will give her office “more of a cushion” in certain expense areas.

RASA is a state grant providing services primarily to victims of adult offenders as outlined in the RASA Act, said Rosselli. She said the county received $81,068 for Jan. 1, 2013 through Dec. 31, 2014.

According to her, she needed to modify current budget categories for personnel and benefits due to staff changes that occurred this year. She said the Victim Witness program had a secretary retire and the staff has absorbed those duties with the position not being filled at this time.

More specifically, Rosselli explained funds were re-allocated in the budget, so that a part-time advocate will have an increase of 2.5 hours per week for a total of 19 hours. She said she needed to adjust some benefit categories as a result of the personnel changes.

Rosselli also presented the 2015-16 RASA grant application for which the county will receive $76,410 for Jan. 1, 2015 through Dec. 31, 2016. She noted this was a slight decrease by $4,658 from the 2013-14 allocation.

Rosselli said the RASA grant will fund wages and benefits for 40 percent of the director position, 50 percent of the full-time advocate position and 10 percent of the part-time advocate position. She said it will also fund supplies and operating expenses for that timeframe.

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