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Peoria domestic violence shelter among those devastated by budget impasse

Peoria dv 032117PEORIA – A Peoria social service provider that helps victims of domestic abuse is one of the many groups affected by a cut of $9 million in state funding.

The Center for Prevention of Abuse stands to lose $200,000 due to the cut. The organization was already owed over $400,000 by the state for previous programs the state never reimbursed them for.

Despite the lack of support from state agencies, The Center has been able to prevent service cuts thanks to conservative budgeting and community support.

Executive Director Carol Merna says The Center has had to dismantle some of their crucial services in order to cope with the budget cuts.

“The 20-month-long budget impasse in Illinois is taking a toll on our organization and those we serve,” Merna said. Thus far we have been made to dismantle our ‘Safe from the Start’ program, a community response program dedicated to reducing trauma that very young children experience when they are exposed to violence, whether as a firsthand victim of abuse, neglect or maltreatment or as a witness of physical, emotional or sexual violence or a violent crime.”

Merna says that “Safe from the Start” was once a fully funded program with the state. She also says that it is not the only program being affected.

“Additionally, The Center’s Self Neglect program, once busting at the seams, has been placed on an indefinite hiatus awaiting assurance that the state will fulfill its service contracts” Merna said.

Director Merna added that these programs are crucial for the state

“These programs, and others like them that are teetering on the brink, represent people in crisis,” Merna said. “Instead of widening the divide, we absolutely must be the bridge that ensures well-being so that everyone can contribute to our communities.”

Peoria's Center for Prevention of Abuse was profiled in today's Peoria Journal Star.

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