Newsletter

January 2021

 

The Challenges of a New Year

To begin our first newsletter of 2021, we have to acknowledge that many of the challenges we faced last year are still with us and deserve our continued attention as we work to provide healing and restore trust for child abuse victims and their families. As we chart our path for this new year, we remain committed to working with all of you to provide a best practice response to child abuse so that all of South Carolina’s children can feel safe and thrive.

Many of you assisted us in reaching out to federal legislators last year to try and secure a Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) fix to avoid substantial cuts in the services we provide to children. We are getting a number of questions regarding why the VOCA fix was not enacted so we wanted to give all of you the latest information we have. Overall, our collective voice on the need for a VOCA Fix really did make a difference with Congress, specifically highlighting the urgent and dire need to get this fixed as soon as possible! Unfortunately, the provision was dropped from the FY21 Omnibus Appropriations bill because we could not get unanimous agreement to put an “authorizing bill on an appropriations bill”. Normally, authorization bills that relate to policy issues flow through the authorizing committees, and for the VOCA Fix, this means the House and Senate Judiciary Committee. Also, normally authorizing bills are not attached to appropriations bills (i.e., annual budgets); however, Congress routinely waives this rule and attaches authorizing bills to appropriation bills. But to do this, the chair and ranking member of the authorizing committees have to “approve” the provision being added. This meant that chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate Judiciary had to also agree. The Senate Judiciary (led by Sen. Graham) wholeheartedly supported adding this provision to the FY21 Omnibus Appropriations bill. The chairman of the House Judiciary also wholeheartedly supported adding this provision, and we also understand that both House and Senate Democratic and Republican leadership supported adding this provision to the FY21 Omnibus. Unfortunately, the House Judiciary Committee ranking member maintained his opposition to adding the bill to the FY21 omnibus and explained he wanted to see the proposal go through a regular order of considering bills. (This bill was bypassing the more traditional way that bills are considered – mainly because of the urgent need to get it done now. However, it is important to note that Congress bypasses regular order quite often when there is an urgent need, and the need to fix VOCA definitely fits that definition.) While many members, both democrat and republican, reached out to the House Judiciary Committee ranking member directly to try to get him to drop his opposition, he maintained he wanted to see “regular order”. So, the VOCA fix did not make it into the final bill. However, all of our work gives a great foundation to get a VOCA fix implemented as soon as possible this year! We will let you know when it is time for additional outreach, and we appreciate your support.

The recent events occurring in our country remind us that our work to lessen and remove the impact of bias in all forms needs to continue. As we reported last year, we have formed a Safeguarding Equity Committee that will begin work early this year with the following goals:

  • Plan statewide trainings on both education and action to reduce racial bias in Children’s Advocacy Center services.
  • Establish processes to reduce implicit bias, such as automating referral processes with partners so that referrals for services to our statewide CAC database are made regardless of background.
  • Encourage and support convening and engaging with our multidisciplinary partners to have hard conversations that will help us to effect change together.

On behalf of our staff and Board of Directors here at SCNCAC, know that we appreciate all of your support as we face the many challenges from last year and the new ones that will appear this year. Together we will continue to make a difference in the lives of children across South Carolina.

In unity and hope,

Tom

Thomas Knapp
Executive Director

VOCA Funding Call to Action
 

Upcoming Initial Victim Service Provider Training

SCNCAC will provide a virtual Initial VSP training in March 2021. This twenty-four-hour long training, which includes all requirements for South Carolina's Victim Advocates training, is provided for CAC Family & Victim Advocates and MDT Advocates. 

The dates for the training include: March 15th - March 19th from 8am to 12pm each day. Registration will open this month! Topics include: Review and practice of communication skills, Trauma-informed care, Cultural Competency, Crisis intervention or de-escalation, develop strategies to overcome barriers through motivational interviewing, ethics, identify roles of different VSP/Advocates, Identify resources and referrals, discuss strengths, limitations, and possible overlap or conflicting roles of different VSPs, partner and collaborate with other agencies to meet the needs of victims with special needs/considerations, SC Victims Rights and Statues, Crime victim compensation, Criminal justice system and court procedures, introduction to vicarious trauma for victim services, our historical foundations, the Medical Exam, and Collaborate Data System. 

Initial VSP Training
 

SCNCAC Connect

Late last year we developed a new section of our website to assist child abuse professionals. SCNCAC Connect is a professional networking tool that is designed to connect Children's Advocacy Center and Multidisciplinary Team professionals.

SCNCAC Connect compliments our CAC/MDT eLearning system to connect CAC/MDT professionals with a community of their peers across South Carolina. MDT members can ask questions, post documents, and engage in focused online discussions. If you are a CAC staff member or a multidisciplinary team professional with one of our CACs, you can use the link below for more information on how to connect. 

SCNCAC Connect
 

Forensic Interview Peer Review

In response to COVID-19, SCNCAC began offering virtual Peer Review last year. We plan to continue virtual Peer Review throughout the first half of 2021. We are also planning to evaluate future opportunities for in-person Peer Review.

Our virtual Forensic Interview Peer Review is a way for all interviewers across the state to come together to provide constructive feedback to one another, but in the safety of their homes or offices, during this pandemic.

We want interviewers to feel comfortable and remain healthy so the virtual format will continue for at least the first half of this year.

Forensic Interview Peer Review
 

New e-Learning Courses Coming Soon

SCNCAC will be adding new trainings to our e-learning portal throughout this year as we continue to see limits on in-person trainings due to the pandemic.

The new trainings will include: Motivational Interviewing Part 1, Understanding Dynamics of Abuse and Recantation in Child Abuse Disclosures, and Spirituality of the Child and CACs.

Our team has decided to add these new trainings to our e-learning portal because we do know that time is of the essence and we are committed to making sure our advocates and CAC staff have new training opportunities, regardless if you can make it to the live virtual training or not! 

SCNCAC e-Learning

Upcoming Events

Due to the ongoing COVID crisis and escalating numbers in South Carolina, we have made the decision to continue to have all of our scheduled meetings and trainings on a virtual platform for at least the first 6 months of this year. Any trainings or events that cannot be hosted virtually will be scheduled later in the year.

We are planning on holding our Children's Advocacy Center day at the state capitol, which includes a joint news conference with SCNCAC staff and the Attorney General, in the first week of April. The exact date and time will be announced soon. This event will be a virtual event that we hope to live stream on our website and social media platforms. Look for more information to come out soon.

You can use the events calendar link below to check on other upcoming events. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or wish to add an event to our list.

EVENTS CALENDAR

South Carolina Network of Children's Advocacy Centers
1300 Pickens Street, Suite 158, Columbia, SC 29208
803-576-7250  I  www.cac-sc.org

If you no longer wish to receive these emails, you can unsubscribe at any time using the link below. However, if you are a CAC/MDT member or Board Member, this will also unsubscribe you from all membership updates, member notices, or Board Member update emails.