Sandusky Fine Money Available for Pennsylvania Child Abuse Organizations

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The fruit of state senator Jake Corman’s lawsuit against the NCAA is ready for distribution — in the form of $48 million dedicated to child abuse efforts.

Corman’s lawsuit led to a settlement that voided sanctions against Penn State in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. That defense of the Endowment Act ended up with the NCAA agreeing that a big chunk of the $60 million fine it imposed on the university would be spent in Pennsylvania.
Some $48 million will go exclusively toward child abuse efforts, including prevention, victim services, and more. And the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) is currently accepting applications for grant money from the Endowment Act fund.

With a July 24 deadline coming up, organizations dedicated to the battle against child abuse are filing applications, hoping to win a piece of the sizable fund. The application process opened just shy of two weeks ago, and the PCCD says plenty of organizations have expressed interest already.

“It’s been too early for any submittals, but to date, we have received several questions from interested parties,” PCCD communications director Matthew Leonard says.

One of the organizations vying for Endowment Act money is the Mount Nittany Health Children’s Advocacy Center of Centre County. The CAC, which works with medical professionals and law enforcement, is focused on a multi-faceted approach to the prevention, identification, intervention, and treatment of child abuse.

Kristina Taylor-Porter, the executive director of the CAC, says the organization feels fortunate to have this funding opportunity available.

“Children’s advocacy centers were not recognized within the state budget ever, so to have that opportunity to apply for funding is something we feel very fortunate about,” she says. “There was no funding prior to this, so we’re sort of piecemealing some things together. This will allow us to focus more on our services and strengthen what we’re doing.”

Specifically, Taylor-Porter says the funds could help the CAC further train its three medical professionals, allowing them to assist in other areas in the treatment of child abuse victims.

“That money could help us continue to encourage the three professionals we have to go for additional education in their specialized fields,” she says. “One of our main goals is to make sure that children aren’t just healthy physically, but also mentally through their healing process, so we’d like to be able to help fund mental health professionals in the area so that we can provide that type of help to children as well.”

Penn State was allowed to keep $12 million of that NCAA fine to fund its own child abuse research programs. That money was used to start The Network on Child Protection and Well-Being, which Taylor-Porter is pleased to see. She says the emphasis on a team approach to the issue of child abuse is extremely important.

“That’s really crucial to make sure we’re continuing to provide evidence-based programs to not only respond to child abuse, but also prevent it,” she says. “We need to have that funding to continue that team approach in fighting child abuse. It enhances that collaboration through training funds, victim services, research, and elsewhere. That recognizes that it isn’t just a single agency responded to child abuse but a team approach.”

As the application process moves forward, the PCCD will eventually review the applications before doling out Endowment Act funds to Pennsylvania organizations such as the CAC.

“At that time, we will begin scoring and reviewing all of the applications that came in,” Leonard says. “Due to the interest in these funds, we anticipate that the scoring and reviewing process will take a few months to complete.”

The review team will then give final recommendations to the Children’s Advocacy Center Advisory Committee — which oversees accredited CACs — in November. If an application is approved at that point, it will move to the commission for final approval at its December 2015 meeting, and grants will go out starting January 1, 2016.

Source: State College