The County of Santa Clara
California

Report
67307

Accept annual report from Office of the County Executive relating to the Santa Clara County Domestic Violence Shelter-Based Programs special fund.

Information

Department:Office of the County ExecutiveSponsors:
Category:Report

Body

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS

There are no Fiscal Implications for the County by accepting this informational report.

Pursuant to California Welfare and Institutions Code, Section 18304, the County Executive's Office of Women's Policy currently administers the Domestic Violence Shelter-Based Programs Special Fund (DV Trust Fund) which is made up of revenue from three non-general fund sources:

Trust Fund 0378 (Probationer Fines)

Currently, California Penal Code 1203.097 (a)(5) directs the County of Santa Clara to collect a mandatory, minimum $500 fine from defendants who are granted probation for domestic violence crimes. The administration of these funds is pursuant to Section 18305 of the Welfare and Institutions Code to be expended for the purposes of Chapter 5 of Part 6 of Division 9 of the Welfare and Institutions Code. Trust Fund 0378 (TF 0378) under the County’s DV Trust Fund was established for this purpose.  The average total funding from this source is approximately $60,000 annually.

Liability GLA 2220510 (Probationer Fines to Battered Women’s Shelters)

Pursuant to California Penal Code 1203.097(a)(11), if probation is granted, the conditions of probation may include, in addition to but not in lieu the minimum $500 fine, payments to a battered women's shelter, up to a maximum of five thousand dollars. Liability Account 2220510 under the County’s DV Trust Fund was established for this purpose.  The average total funding from this source is approximately $160,000 annually.

Trust Fund 0231 (Marriage License Fees)

Currently, California Welfare and Institutions Code (Section 18305) outlines the collection of revenue $23.00 from every Marriage License issued in the County to be expended for the shelter-based services. Trust Fund 0231 (TF 0231) under the County’s DV Trust Fund was established for this purpose.  The average total funding from this source is approximately $200,000 annually.

Deposits made into these funds are distributed quarterly according to a formula (see Attachment A).  The County also collects administrative costs of 8% of all funds collected in TF 0231 (Marriage License fees) for fund management. 

REASONS FOR RECOMMENDATION

The Office of Women’s Policy administers the County’s Domestic Violence Shelter-Based Programs Special Fund, as required under California Welfare and Institutions Code, Section 18300 and monitors the Memorandums of Agreement with qualified agencies.  Currently, there are four domestic violence shelter-based programs in Santa Clara County that offer a range of comprehensive, free, and confidential services and programs to domestic violence survivors and their children, including Asian Americans for Community Involvement (AACI), Community Solutions, Next Door Solutions to Domestic Violence, and the YWCA Support Network.  The programs and services offered include emergency shelter, crisis lines, counseling, support groups, legal advocacy, case management, children and teen programs, and community education and outreach. The shelters also provide emergency food and clothing, transportation, safety planning and empowerment programs, assistance with finding affordable housing and rental subsidies, interpretation, and self-sufficiency services that help clients obtain public benefits and enhance their ability to find employment and education. Each of the four agencies have a track record and ability to serve a diverse population of victims ranging from upper to middle class to low-income, English speaking victims to limited English Proficient and monolingual victims from a variety of ethnic populations with linguistically and culturally specific services.

In Fiscal Year 2011-2012, the four domestic violence shelter-based programs in Santa Clara County served the following number of individuals per program area:

Emergency shelter was provided to 734 victims and children, providing them a safe place to stay and resources to escape violence and abuse.

·        21,255 bed nights provided (number of individuals x number of nights).

·        2,504 individuals were unable to access shelter because the domestic violence shelters were full (duplicated).

·        22,858 hotline calls answered.

·        Advocacy services including legal advocacy provided to 1,474 survivors with 11,656 advocacy sessions.

·        3,448 victims provided with peer counseling (individual and group) totaling 13,520 counseling sessions.

·        398 survivors received clinical therapy with 2,360 sessions provided. 

·        421 children received counseling services (individual and group) totaling 3,678 sessions.

·        2,890 individuals received domestic violence training and education at 98 training and community awareness events.

 

Each year there are thousands of calls made to the police for assistance in domestic violence incidents in Santa Clara County. In 2012, law enforcement officers referred approximately 3,962 non-lethal cases of domestic violence to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office for review. The Office of the District Attorney filed charges in 2,259 cases (1,849 misdemeanors and 410 felonies). Santa Clara County’s family courts issued 1,996 domestic violence restraining orders in 2012. This means hundreds of survivors went to criminal and family court, a large majority of those survivors self-represented in family court, to obtain safety for themselves and their children.

During 2012, there were 9 domestic violence related deaths. Three of the 9 cases included a domestic violence suspect who committed suicide. This is a decrease from the 17 domestic violence related deaths in 2011, which was the largest number of deaths in Santa Clara County since 2003. There were 144 domestic violence related deaths in the County from 2000-2012.[1]

 

CONSEQUENCES OF NEGATIVE ACTION

If the Board of Supervisors does not receive the annual report on the County’s Domestic Violence Shelter-Based Programs Trust Fund, the County will not fully meet the intent of California Statute governing the collection and administration of these funds.

CHILD IMPACT

Efforts to address and alleviate the negative impact of domestic violence through shelter-based programs may benefit families with children who seek out and receive those services.

SENIOR IMPACT

Efforts to address and alleviate the negative impact of domestic violence through shelter-based programs may benefit seniors who seek out and receive those services.

SUSTAINABILITY IMPLICATIONS

The recommended action will have no/neutral sustainability implications.

BACKGROUND

In expressing its strong intent to support local domestic violence programs that are shelter-based (local shelters) throughout California, the Legislature declared that there was a present and growing need to develop innovative strategies and services to reduce the trauma of domestic violence. To help accomplish this goal, the Legislature resolved to support projects throughout the State that would assist victims of domestic violence by offering them undisclosed and secure locations that were open 24 hours a day with trained staff so that victims could escape violent environments. One way the Legislature supports these victims is by establishing a funding stream through payments made by individuals convicted of crimes of domestic violence and sentenced to probation (probationers).

There are two notable items about the DV Trust Fund.  As of January 1, 2013, the California Penal Code 1203.097 (a)(5) has been amended. The statute requires individuals who are convicted of domestic violence crimes and sentenced to probation to make a minimum payment of $500 as one of many terms and conditions of their probation. State law specifies that a court can reduce or waive a payment for a domestic violence crime if the court determines that the probationer has an inability to pay. If the court reduces or waives the payment, it must state the reason on the record.

Additionally, it is important to note that no provision of Welfare and Institutions Code Section 18293 which governs the administration and distribution of the DV Trust Fund is intended to prohibit domestic violence shelter-based programs receiving funds pursuant to this chapter from receiving additional funds from any other public or private source. Funds provided pursuant to this chapter shall not be used to reduce the financial support from other public or private sources. Funding obtained pursuant to this chapter is for the unrestricted use of a recipient domestic violence shelter-based program, and may be used for direct and indirect costs. The break out of all services delivered by each shelter agency is included in this report as well as data for law enforcement agencies across Santa Clara County. (Appendix B)

In May 2011, the Office of Women’s Policy assumed responsibility for administration and oversight of the DV Trust Fund, which contained Trust Fund 0378 and Liability Account 2220510. With input from local shelters, the County finalized a formula for distribution of the accumulated funds in TF 0378 and commenced distribution to qualified local domestic violence shelter providers. As was previously reported to the Board of Supervisors (Board of Supervisors Meeting, March 20, 2012) an unusually large amount had accumulated in TF 0378 and a total of $1,072,099.87 was distributed to four domestic violence shelter-based agencies who met the criteria set forth in a Request for Statement of Qualifications issued during February 2012. A total of $30,000 was deducted from TF 0378 by the County for administration of the funds. (Appendix C). The State Auditor’s office concluded in its report that it was unclear if administrative costs were allowable under the statute. Therefore, the County discontinued deducting the 8% administrative costs from TF 0378 for FY 2013.  The Statute is clear that administrative costs for TF 0231 (Marriage License fees) are allowable.  The FY 2014 report will provide a summary of all activity for the DV Trust Fund during FY 2013.

 

Recently, Assembly Bill No. 139 (Holden) was introduced in the California legislature 2013–14 regular session which would amend Section 1203.097 of the Penal Code, and amend Section 18305 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to domestic violence. This bill would clarify that the $500 payment is a fee, not a fine, and that the fee is not subject to reduction for time served. The bill would also authorize 8% of the moneys deposited in the county domestic violence programs special fund to be used for administrative costs and would authorize the collection of the fee by the collecting agency or the agency’s designee after the termination of the period of probation, whether probation is terminated by revocation or by completion of the term. The bill would provide that a county board of supervisors may request, on not more than a quarterly basis, an accounting of the special fund, as specified.

As of July 1, 2012, to ensure consistency in the administration of these statutorily directed funds, the Office of Women's Policy began administering Marriage License fees as well.  As of this report, distribution for three quarters has been completed and mid-year site visits to each agency currently receiving funding have been conducted.  All 4 agencies are fully compliant with their Memorandums of Understanding with the County. An additional and final site visit will be conducted during July 2013 and an annual report for the DV Trust Fund for FY 2013 will be issued in the third quarter of the next fiscal year once distribution and reporting have been completed.

National Overview

The current economic climate has created a perfect storm-- a simultaneous decrease in public funding during an increase in demand for domestic violence shelter services.  Agencies across the domestic violence field are forced to do more with less, cutting staff, reducing hours, and cutting back on services due to lack of funds, while the true harm is to domestic violence victims.

Many victims, who once had the financial capacity to escape violent environments, no longer have the monetary means to secure a safe living space or meet other basic needs for themselves and their children. Meanwhile, cutting funds to domestic violence programs means that victims have fewer places to turn. Budget cuts at the local, state, and federal level are creating increased danger to victims and their children.

Victim advocates have expressed concern about the pending funding cuts resulting from the sequester. According to recent analysis, sequestration will result in approximately 70,000 fewer victims getting help from domestic violence programs and approximately 36,000 fewer victims having access to protection orders, crisis intervention and counseling, sexual assault services, hospital-based advocacy, transitional housing services, and help with civil legal matters.[2]

Probationer Fines Audit (Trust Fund 0378)

 

In response to statewide concerns about the collection and distribution of Probationer fines in California counties, the Assembly Select Committee on Domestic Violence directed the California State Auditor to conduct a statewide audit of these funds.  The State Auditor selected 4 sites.  In August of 2011, the County of Santa Clara was notified by the State Auditor that it was selected as one of four sites in CA for audit of Probationer Fines contained in TF 0378.  The audit commenced in early 2012 and a final audit report was released in September of 2012. (http://www.bsa.ca.gov/reports/summary/2011-121)  The findings for Santa Clara County and the responses to date are as follows:

 

Recommendation 1:  Santa Clara County should implement a process to distribute the funds to domestic violence shelters regularly.

 

County Response: A Request for Statement of Qualifications (RFSQ) was issued in February of 2012 and in March of 2012, the Board of Supervisors approved the process for immediate disbursement of funds based on a formula that was developed with input from the shelter agencies.  A total of $748,793.51 was disbursed from TF 0378 to the 4 shelter agencies.

Recommendation 2: Santa Clara County should take the following steps to correct the past misdirection of domestic violence funds and prevent these errors from occurring in the future.

 

County Response: Previously, the statute called for 2/3 of the revenue collected to be sent to the State and 1/3 for deposit into TF 0378.  Effective January 1, 2007, the statute changed and called for only 1/3 to be sent to the State and the remaining 2/3 to be deposited into the County’s TF 0378.  The County’s Department of Revenue did not note this change and miscoded the payments through December 31, 2009.  Commencing in 2010, this error was corrected.  The County Department of Revenue has determined the magnitude of the past distributions and identified 1,640 overpayment cases resulting in a $63,042.31 adjustment due to the County.  The adjustment was processed and reflected in the distribution of March 2013 collections which the County-Controller Treasurer’s Office will include in a future submission to the State via TC-31.  In order to prevent these types of errors in the future and as a result of the audit finding, the Department of Revenue has set up a committee with Superior Court personnel who will track and respond to any legislative changes.  The Department of Revenue has formed a committee to review legislative changes and is working closely with the Santa Clara Superior Court to ensure that legislative changes are incorporated into our procedures in a timely and accurate manner.

CONSEQUENCES OF NEGATIVE ACTION

If the Board of Supervisors does not receive the annual report on the County's Domestic Violence Shelter-Based Programs Trust Fund, the County will not fully meet the intent of California Statute governing the collection and administration of these funds.

STEPS FOLLOWING APPROVAL

Staff of the County Executive’s Office of Women’s Policy will proceed with the process of certifying all agencies within Santa Clara County who meet the criteria for designation as a domestic violence shelter based service provider through a Request for Statement of Qualifications to be issued prior the end of the current fiscal year.


[1] Santa Clara County Public Health Department, Santa Clara County Violence Profile 2012. June 2012.

[2] http://www.nnedv.org/news/38-census-domestic-violence-counts/3496-census-2012-press-release.html

Meeting History

May 16, 2013 1:00 PM Video Children, Seniors, and Families Committee Regular Meeting

Vice Chair Cortese left his seat at 3:12 p.m. Esther Peralez-Dieckmann, Manager, Office of Women's Policy, Office of the County Executive, clarified the distribution of accumulated funds to qualified local domestic violence shelter providers through the Domestic Violence Trust Fund.

Cynthia Hunter, Director, Domestic Violence Advocacy Consortium of Santa Clara County (DVAC), expressed appreciation to the County for collaborating with DVAC to develop a transparent trust fund distribution formula.

RESULT:FORWARDED - LACK OF QUORUM
Jun 4, 2013 9:00 AM Video Board of Supervisors Regular Meeting
RESULT:ACCEPTED [UNANIMOUS]
MOVER:S. Joseph Simitian, Supervisor
SECONDER:Dave Cortese, Supervisor
AYES:Mike Wasserman, Dave Cortese, Ken Yeager, S. Joseph Simitian

Transcript

May 16, 2013 1:00 PMVideo (Windows Media) MP4 VideoChildren, Seniors, and Families CommitteeRegular Meeting

 
3:10 PMItem to the next item with request of information by supervisor cortese and provided originals for you county executive and the board clerk.
Thank you very much all right. And supervisor I think at this point we're going to lose you. Is that right?
I'm afraid so.
All right. that will take us to item eight which is accept the report related to immigration advocacy principles. This was referred -- ms. Brown any reason why we can't continue this item?
No.
Given the speed congress is moving I think we're all right. Sorry to keep you here this afternoon but it's an important item and would like time for the discussion and both members here. All right.

3:11 PMObjection. Then that takes us to item number nine which is to accept the responsible report of the county executive relating to the santa clara county domestic violence shelter based program special fund. Isn't that a mouthful? Who would like to present on this item? welcome.
We are currently overseeing and administering the county's domestic violence trust fund. We will use the shortened term for the fund . With me are two people, cynthia hunter who is the director the domestic violence violence consortium and steffen thomas who represents -- even those he's moved on he was involved in the work of looking at this fund throughout a period of time that also involved a state audit so he's here to answer technical questions on the department of revenue, and we hit the highlights and if there are specific questions we will address those and this is a process of two years to look at the fund and make sure that the intent was being met and the monies used for domestic violence shelters services were used for the shelters in santa clara county so the report summarizes some of the data that we know and the time period we collected data from is from July 1 of 2011 through July 30 of 2012 so each year the statute requires us to qualify and certify domestic violence shelter base providers in our county. We issue this in the mou and community solutions and the ymca support network and two more shelters and provide the data for the report. Some of the highlights for that [inaudible] provided for 734 victims and children. 21255 bed nights. Over 22,000 hot line calls. Various levels of service for counseling, both for victims and children. 28 .
3:14 PM-- 2800 receives counseling and there were nine deaths and three of the ace cases including.
A domestic violence violence suspect who committed suicide and the highest numbers in santa clara county since 2003. From the period to 2012 there were 144 domestic violence deaths in the counties and we have include the statistics from the time period and some of the history. For your benefit this predated your arrival at the board but we spent time focused on one of the trust funds and the probation fees that was over looked in the process of administering this funding. Our report outlines some of the reasons why. I think santa clara county got this on quickly. The boarded called for accounting of it is funding at ends of 2010 so we spent 2011ing at this fund. The domestic violence shelter providers gave us input to the problems happening state wide so in this report you see the reference to the state audit that happened result of the trust fund.
3:15 PMMay I just interrupt for a moment. The short version is we dropped the ball.
We dropped the ball and we are in a good place with the domestic violence shelters.
Anything else?
No. we will take calls from various sources. People contacted the county executive about the funds and victims are denied services. We have to answer to all of that and I think we have done a good job of representing the situation. People have not hopefully contacted your offices but we can answer any questions related to the fund and what is happening now and grateful to the county executive's office and the domestic violence shelter and I would like to give cindy a moment to share.
3:16 PM[inaudible]
Can I ask into speak up. I want to make sure you're heard.
On behalf of the shelter programs I want to thank jeff smith and ester and the county executive's office and the office of the controller. Once the fund was identified they allowed us to be part of the process and happy to be at this point now. There is transparency . We are getting payments so I wanted to thank you.
Thank you very much. any other comments from staff? I don't think I have any cards from members of the public who wish to speak on this item? Did I miss anybody? All right if not I will simply say thank you and we will accept the report and now that you picked up the ball please hold on to it.

3:17 PMTakes us to item 10 which is the consent calendar. Item 11 is juvenile justice commission report on the service and intake center and we do have some cards there and let me just say here's what I would like to do. I would like to get a staff report or update where staff thinks things are. Then I would like to hear from a couple of folks from the two commissions because they clearly have different points of view on this issue and hear from the public who wishes to speak and then see if we can figure out a way to move forward as productive as possible so thank you all for being here and thanks for sticking it out in a long afternoon.