Children's Advocacy Centers (CACs) have been operating since 1985 and now number more than 800 in the United States, serving more than 276,000 children in 2012 alone. These programs have historically been supported through one primary federal funding stream - the Victims of Child Abuse Act, which currently provides $19 million dollars to individual CACs, chapters, several training and technical assistance projects, and an accreditation program for CACs. All of the published research has demonstrated positive practice outcomes for these programs and also cost-savings through this collaborative response to child abuse. Amazingly, and despite this overwhelming usage and evidence, the President's Budget for FY2014 eliminated all funding for the Victims of Child Abuse Act for the second year in a row. Dramatic efforts are underway to restore this funding, but it is a challenging time, given the economic lag which continues and the ongoing impact of sequestration. No one within the President's Office, the Department of Justice, or the Office of Management and Budget has taken responsibility for this elimination of funding. We fight daily against child abuse where often there are no answers to things which don't make sense, and typically this is at the hands of offenders. Now, we are faced with similar unanswered questions at the hands of our government. Additionally, in the proposed budget, while eliminating funding for CACs, the Department of Justice is requesting $395 million in new gun related spending, $100 million in "second chance" funding for prisoners, $30 million in new neighborhood revitalization, and $8.6 billion for new prison facilities. Everyone should be outraged by this decision, especially given the progress we have made over the past 25 years. All indicators are that this investment has paid off and child sexual abuse has declined significantly over the past 20 years. CACs are working, and shouldn't our government be investing in programs that work? If you are frustrated by this, please express your concern to your elected Senators and Representatives today, before it is too late. Let them know you want the funding restored to protect our children. They are our future and they are looking to us for guidance and protection.
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