AVA/OVW Conference Call Summary – December 2016
Monthly Conference Call between AVA & OVW
Date: Monday, December 5, 2016
Time: 11:00 AM Eastern Standard Time
OVW Staff: OVW Associate Director Amy Loder, STOP Program Managers Kim Galvin and Omar Mohammed, Marnie Shiels, OVW Legal
AVA Board Members: Michelle Bynum, MaryEllen Garcia and Cecilia Miller
AVA Executive Director: Dorene Whitworth
SUMMARY OF DISCUSSIONS
We briefly discussed the SASP conference which concluded last week. Having the SASP meeting as a stand-alone conference rather than an extension of the STOP conference worked well. Administrators felt it was a very productive meeting. The Sexual Assault Demonstration Initiative – SADI – was discussed at length during the conference. Although the report is not yet available, it should be soon. OVW is exploring what TA might be needed. Administrators should continue to push for meaningful SA services and strong relationships with their coalitions.
STOP Application Cycle
AVA will be holding another peer meeting in late January or early February where we will delve more into implementation planning. As we discussed, the plans will be due with the FY2017 STOP application but states face varying approval processes at the local level that may make it difficult to have a final product ready by the time the applications are due. OVW reiterated that they will work with states on the submission of the Implementation Plans. It may be that states submit a draft with their STOP application pending local approvals; however, administrators should contact their program manager to discuss the timing of local approvals if they need additional time.
STOP conference planning
OVW offered no updates at the time of this call but AVA has since learned that Tuscon, Arizona has been selected as the location of the 2017 STOP Administrators’ Conference that will be held March 28-29, 2017.
OVW received 20 comments including those submitted by AVA. Others came from advocacy groups and administrators. The final regulations become effective Dec. 29th. All awards (both federal and state even if using older monies) after this date are subject to these new rules. The bulk of the changes affect the STOP program. Of particular interest to administrators is that the new rules extend the Implementation Plan cycle to 4 years and will take affect with the 2017 awards. The Implementation Planning tools will be updated.
OVW is offering a webinar in January to the public on January 5 to cover the regulations generally. A webinar specific to the needs of STOP administrators will be presented at 11AM and 4PM EST on January 12, 2017. The regulations also addressed the documentation of collaboration. OVW will be looking closer at meaningful collaborations and how these occurred.
OVW will be somewhat flexible in regard to submission of plans; however, administrators should be ready to provide information regarding where they are in the process and when they expect final approvals at the state level. In a worse-case scenario, a STOP award could go out with a 60 day special condition. AVA will offer mentoring to any new administrators that might be struggling with the process.
Cloud storage: OVW received numerous comments and concerns on this topic but recognizes digital files are the way of the future. However, there should reasonable protections incorporated into this practice.
This discussion is a continuation of the November conversation wherein AVA inquired into awards being frozen pending satisfaction of audit findings. Amy discussed that OCFO and OIG are two very distinct and separate entities. Freezing of funds may be more likely to occur by the OIG if issues arise. OJP oversees a “high risk” list which triggers additional special conditions. Sometimes amounts are questioned but the entire grant is not frozen. Other times OVW has discretion on freezing awards. Sometimes programs are placed on a corrective plan before additional drawdowns can be done. Communication with your program manager remains key during the audit process.
Justice For All Act (JFAA)
Good news for VAWA – the JFAA very specifically exempts VAWA from the PREA compliance mandates. The JFAA has been approved by Congress and is headed to the President for signature. The PREA exemption should begin with FY 2017 STOP awards. Unfortunately there is no language allowing for the retroactive application of JFAA so the FY 2016 awards must still move forward with the previous PREA restrictions. In FY 2017 and onward states can still fund PREA efforts that fall within the STOP purpose areas but those efforts will no longer be mandated. OVW noted that states have been doing amazing things to help with PREA compliance and those efforts do not need to stop; however, since VAWA will be exempt, the administrative burden for those projects is greatly reduced.
Next Call: Jan 9th at 11:00 EST.