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April 2, 2009

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Crime Victim Programs Receive An Infusion Of Federal Funding

The state attorney general's office yesterday announced nearly $2.1 million in federal grants for crime victim services provided by 49 programs around New Jersey.

The grants, funded by the Victims of Crime Act, are a precursor to another $2.4 million expected from the federal stimulus plan.

"These grants support the vital work of agencies that are meeting the needs of crime victims with quality services," Attorney General Anne Milgram said in a statement.

"Whether it is counseling, legal assistance, or something as basic as temporary housing, these agencies offer crime victims what they need when they need it the most."

Forty-three organizations shared the same amount of federal money last year. State officials said New Jersey has dished out more than $21.3 million in Victims Assistance Grants to nonprofits from 2001 to 2008.

Grant amounts ranged from $20,5640 to the $55,000 maximum. Most of the programs receiving the money are dedicated to victims of domestic violence or ensuring the safety of foster children

One Montclair-based organization, Partners for Women & Justice, received two grants for a total of $82,500. Executive director Jane Hanson said part of the money will go toward staff and programs at the Family Justice Center, which she hopes will open at the end of the year.

The rest will support legal defense for women suffering domestic abuse. Hanson said the grant will fund practically the entire program, which has provided legal assistance at 500 restraining order hearings since 2005.

"It's essential," she said. "We couldn't do it without it."

Jean Metz, a director at Catholic Charities, said the organization will use its two grants, totaling $96,250, to support its legal advocacy programs in Burlington and Ocean counties.

"Domestic violence continues to be a serious problem in our state," she said. "I applaud the attorney general's office for seeing that as a priority."

Fourteen chapters of CASA -- Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children -- received a total of $524,830 in grants.

Karen Burns, executive director of the national nonprofit's Newark office, said they supervise 675 foster children in Essex County, all victims of neglect or abuse. She said the grant money will help the office take on 40 new cases.

"This is very important money, so we are relieved," she said.



Chris Megerian may be reached at or (609) 989-0208.


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