On May 24, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Family and Youth Services Bureau at the Administration for Children, Youth and Families awarded $200 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to support Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) Program grantees. This funding will provide 296 supplement grant awards to states, territories, tribes and local domestic violence organizations to respond to domestic violence. While counties are ineligible to receive direct allocations through the FVPSA program, they may receive funding through their state.
The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred increased economic uncertainty, disrupted community support systems and heightened levels of anxiety for many. These stressors, combined with stay-at-home orders and strained resources, has led to an environment that can exacerbate already high levels of domestic violence. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 1 in 4 women and nearly 1 in 10 men have experienced intimate partner violence (IPV), a form of domestic violence, during their lifetime. Further, the CDC reports that at least 1 in 7 children have experienced abuse or/neglect in the past year.
The FVPSA Program works to address domestic violence by providing funding, oversight, training, technical assistance and guidance to emergency shelters, crisis hotlines, prevention programs, specialized resource centers and a number of federal, state, local and tribal organizations. Annually, FVPSA-funded state and tribal programs serve more than 1.3 million victims and their dependents and respond to 2.7 million crisis calls.
The ARPA funds will allow FVPSA Program grantees to expand their services to families who may find themselves in need during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds will provide grantees the flexibility they need to offer shelter, temporary housing and supportive services such as counseling, mobile advocacy, telehealth, teletherapy, peer support, rental assistance and relocation expenses, supplies, equipment and software to domestic violence survivors and their families.
The American County Platform outlines county support for this measure through our support for increased levels of federal funding for domestic violence programs and urges the federal government to fund programs that permit communities to develop resources and services to protect family members and prevent violence, improve staff training and link programs in the health, behavioral health, self-sufficiency, child welfare, criminal justice, law enforcement and social service systems for effective treatment and prevention of domestic violence.
A full list of FVPSA grantees is available here.