How can legislators vote FOR legislation to increase reports of child abuse and at the same time propose a budget that CUTS funding for the programs to serve those at-risk children?

Last week we blogged about talking WITH children. This week, we’re all about speaking up FOR children. Our board’s Legislative and Advocacy Committee is working hard to keep us up to date on some critical decisions being made at both the state and federal level impacting the children and families in OUR community. Here are the details and how YOU can help:

1. Urge the Virginia General Assembly to restore funding for Healthy Families and Child Advocacy Centers (CACs) in the state budget. At SCAN we work closely with these groups in Northern Virginia to coordinate outreach and support for children and families. On March 21st, the House will reconvene for a special session. CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATORS TODAY and tell them how critical you believe this work is.

2. Urge the Federal Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce and Justice to restore appropriated funding of $12 million for the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program. For 10 years National CASA (with whom our Alexandria/Arlington CASA Program is affiliated) received $12 million in funding for the CASA program through the Victims of Child Abuse Act. Last year Congress reduced the funding to $4.5 million. And now, the Administration has proposed eliminating ALL funding for this vital program in FY 2013. A team of CASA representatives met with 40 congressional representatives last week and learned that there is a chance to restore full funding for this program provided enough congressional offices urge appropriators to do the right thing. But timing is critical. TELL THE SUBCOMMITTEE of your support for restoring the CASA program in appropriations.

3. Urge your federal elected representatives to protect Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funding for crime victims and ensure that it is not diverted to other purposes: SCAN of Northern Virginia’s Board of Directors has signed on to a letter being presented by the National Association of VOCA Assistance Administrators (NAVAA) regarding the FY 13 VOCA budget. You can learn more at their website. CONTACT YOUR SENATORS AND CONGRESSMEN to urge them to protect the VOCA funding. This funding forms the pool that SCAN’s CASA Program competes for and has provided approximately $50k for our CASA Program EACH YEAR in recent years.

Talking to your children about tough topics is not always easy. But speaking up FOR THEM is simple. Get in touch with your state and federal leaders TODAY to voice your concern about a budget balanced on the backs of children and families. SCAN and many other local organizations rely on this funding to protect children, educate parents and support families in Northern Virginia. And you can help us continue to make an impact.

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