Hogan announces funding for crime victims
Visits, tours Center for Children in La Plata
During his visit to Southern Maryland last week, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) stopped by the Center for Children in La Plata to announce more than $46 million in Victims of Crime Act funding statewide, more than $811,000 of which was awarded to organizations in Charles County. This year’s feder- al funding marks a huge increase in allocation, which totaled approxi- mately $10 million statewide in 2015.
In Charles County, a total of $811,271 is to be awarded over a two-year period. This will include $176,365 to the Center for Children; $503,078 to the Center for Abused Persons; and $131,828 to LifeStyles of Maryland Foundation, all of which will help better serve those who have been affected by crime.
“I want to begin by ac- knowledging the victim assistance professionals, the advocates and coun- selors, police officers, prosecutors, forensic nurses, hotline workers and trainers, and the many others who are on the front lines each and every day on behalf of the citizens of a very grateful state,” Hogan said. “I want to thank you for the incredibly selfless work that you do ever y day.”
“Here in Maryland,” he continued, “we are work- ing tirelessly to ensure that victims have the right to information, the right to be present, the right to provide input, the right to receive restitution, and perhaps most important- ly, the expectation of being treated with the dig- nity and respect that you deserve.”
Catherine Meyers, ex- ecutive director of Center for Children, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing a comprehensive array of services to young victims and their families, says this is the most funding they have ever received through VoCA. It will allow them to help those in need without having to charge for services.
“These funds allow us not to have to figure out how services get paid when a victim or survivor calls, or charge our clients who have already been victimized in so many ways,” she said, adding that often times clients have minimal resources due to their victimization.
“Years of research, such as the Adverse Childhood Experiences study and practice, has demonstrated that money spent on victim assistance for children is money well spent,” Meyers continued. “We know that without services, victims of crime are far more likely to develop substance abuse problems, suffer from mental illness, including depression or PTSD, become under- or unemployed and suffer higher health costs over their lifetime, all borne out in the aforementioned study.”
After the announcement, Hogan and his staff had an opportunity to tour the facility and learn more about the center.
“This was a perfect opportunity because they do incredible work here and I wanted to see it for myself and thank the people for the great work that they do every day,” Hogan told the Maryland In- dependent. “... For a long time victims didn’t have the rights that they do today. In Maryland, we’ve made a lot of progress, and we’re continuing to do so. There are great people that are doing wonderful work helping victims of crime.”
The governor also not- ed he was able to fully fund every VoCA request his office received this year.
“We put in record amounts of money to help all those programs we’re funding, every single request from every county in the state of Maryland, which I think is probably unprecedented,” he said. “We also pushed for the Justice Reinvestment Act which provided a lot more benefits to the victims of crime, and it’s important to us.”
Some of the benefits of the Justice Reinvestment Act, Hogan noted, were better rehabilitative services for inmates to prepare them to return to the community in order to reduce recidivism, and provisions that will help collect restitution payments from inmates during their incarceration.
Catherine Meyers, executive director of Center for Children, leads Gov. Larry Hogan on a tour through the La Plata facility.