AVA/OVW Conference Call – December, 2011 and January 2012

Each month the AVA Board meets telephonically with the OVW STOP team to discuss a variety of topics pertinent to STOP administration.  Many of the issues are brought forth as a result of questions or comments the AVA board has received from all of you via the listserv or other direct contact.  Below is a summary of these discussions.

  1. 2012 Budget:  Michelle Brickley, OVW Associate Director, discussed that the federal budget has passed but there are additional requirements of the Department of Justice before allocations can be made.  As of the December call, OVW did not have allocations available because the Justice spending plan had not yet been approved.   Michelle is hopeful that allocation amounts will be known prior to STOP applications being due.
  2. STOP Formula Application Kit:  AVA asked when the solicitation was going to be released for the FY 2012 STOP VAWA Formula funds.  OVW indicated that a timeline has been drafted but no solicitations have been released to date.  Tentatively, STOP is scheduled to be released February 23, 2012 with a due date of March 22, 2012.  Please remember that these dates are tentative and may change.
  3. Administrators’ manual:  ALSO has been working on an Administrator’s Manual to provide guidance to STOP Administrators.  The Administrators’ Manual has been completed but is going through final OVW approvals.  It should be released in early 2012.  The manual is a product of ALSO as a TA Provider to OVW and therefore didn’t have to go through OMB approvals.
  4. AVA Listserv:  OVW staff had asked if it would be possible for them to join the AVA listserv as a mechanism to better serve their constituency.  The AVA Board explained that most listserv conversations involve inquiries such as seeking information on best practices, forms development, etc.  The AVA Board also discussed that administrators may not feel comfortable asking some questions if their funders are participating on the listserv.  As a follow-up, AVA checked with other national organizations and learned that they do not have the funding agencies participating on their listservs or websites.  Those organizations agreed that the oversight agencies should not be included.  As a result, OVW staff will not be participating on the VAWA Listserv; however, AVA assured OVW that when questions arise that need clarification, those questions would be brought to OVW to ensure AVA is providing the correct information to STOP Administrators.
  5. VAWA Reauthorization:   OVW discussed that Senator Leahy had introduced the VAWA Reauthorization to Congress in late November.  OVW wanted to make sure AVA was aware that it had been introduced and discussed that it included some additional purpose areas under STOP, e.g. rape kit backlogs, etc.  AVA explained to OVW that we were aware of the Reauthorization and have been working closely with other national organizations to monitor progress and provide any feedback as to the impact any proposed changes may have on states’ ability to administer the funds.  In particular, NCJA has reached out to AVA for the Administrators’ perspectives on changes in the Reauthorization.    OVW agreed that our input to the national organizations is very important (A separate listserv post will be sent out with more specific details on these efforts).
  6. OVW Director Public Appearances: AVA asked OVW staff if STOP administrators could be notified when Director Sue Carbon or other OVW staff are making public appearances in various states so that the STOP administrator could attend to be supportive, and also to not be taken by surprise to find out that OVW is visiting a specific state and the Administrator is unaware of the visit.  AVA discussed that this notification could be accomplished by a simple email giving that state/territory a heads up that OVW will be in their state.  Michelle Brickley indicated she will bring this up in their management meeting.
  7. Conference planning:  OVW and the TA providers continue to work through the logistics of hosting a joint meeting with STOP administrators and coalition directors.  Last month’s webinar was intended to gather additional ideas but the more comprehensive planning calls will continue with participants that include AVA board members, state administrators, and state coalition directors.  AVA has provided OVW with an extensive list that administrators voiced in response to the listserv inquiry.   Additionally, AVA is working with OVW so that theNashville conference schedule will accommodate the AVA Annual meeting – preferably early on March 28.  This date is tentative and we will provide additional information once we have confirmed the meeting date and time.
  8. Food & Beverage Policy:  AVA asked OVW for more clarifying language regarding necessary approvals for the provision of food at various grant-funded events.  It was discussed that some administrators may be looking for very clean-cut language to provide to their management but Michelle Brickley indicated that the “extenuating circumstances” language allows some flexibility to administrators.  She stated that this topic will be included in the March conference.  She also discussed the difference of offering per diem versus providing food.  Based on the problems that have arisen, she feels it might be easier to provide attendees per diem rather than providing food.  The difference in the approval process – cooperative agreement approvals go all the way up to the Attorney General whereas grant approvals are more of a reassurance by your program manager that you are within the guidelines.
  9. Implementation Plan:  AVA asked for confirmation as to whether it is sufficient to simply outline the changes to an implementation plan rather than submitting a full plan each year when minimal or no changes are made from the previous submission.  Michelle Brickley confirmed that on the subsequent two years after a full Implementation Plan is submitted, administrators can submit a letter that outlines the revisions or simply a letter that says “no changes will be made”.
  10. Forensic Compliance:  Marnie Shiels, OVW Legal Counsel, has asked the STOP team to follow up with some states regarding forensic compliance.  This is based on some outstanding items from the desk monitoring report that was completed several years ago.  The following states/territories will most likely be contacted about this issue:  America Samoa, Delaware,Kentucky,Nevada,New Jersey, Puerto Rico,Texas, Virgin Islands,Alaska,Hawaii, and Michigan.  OVW also has a few minor questions for Georgia and Idaho.
  11. Women of Color:   AVA asked how ethnicity is defined and whether there are limitations on who can work with Women of Color (WOC) as a TA provider.  Likewise with Sisters of Color?  AVA also asked for clarification on the focus of these TA services? Michelle Brickley discussed that she had recently returned from the Territories’ meeting in Puerto Rico which had a great deal of dialogue that identified there are subgroups and cultures within minority groups.  OVW recognizes that there are specific issues of culturally-specific populations in all states and territories but the territories have very unique challenges that can affect victims’ access to services.  She discussed that there will be more TA in this area to address specific issues affecting the territories.  Other discussions at that meeting included issues that cross territories, solutions, common issues, etc.  WOC recently conducted a webinar and Michelle suggested that administrators could order the video of that call – the call centered on TA opportunities.

The monthly calls with OVW will not occur in February and March because of the need for OVW to focus on conference planning.  We too are working on the AVA annual meeting which will be held in Nashville.  Additional information on the AVA Annual Meeting will be provided as soon as it is available.  If you have any questions or concerns about the above information, please contact Dorene Whitworth at Dorene.whitworth@yahoo.com or 775-721-4691.