When children in Denton County are the victims of unspeakable crimes, nonprofit social service agency Children’s Advocacy Center for Denton County provides case investigation, counseling, treatment and other services. The agency operates on $2.2 million in funding from a variety of sources, including federal, state and local grants as well as private donations.
Children’s Advocacy Center would like to see Lewisville’s portion of that funding increase. The proposed city budget for Lewisville would more than double the city’s contribution from $26,000 to $62,450 but would still leave its contribution far below what the agency considers its fair share.
“The City of Lewisville has been helpful to our agency in the past by providing some support for us,” said Dan Leal, executive director of the Children’s Advocacy Center. “[But], we are looking for funding from the city that would be more proportionate with the number of residents that we are serving from the community, [and] number of services we provide to the city of Lewisville.”
The Children’s Advocacy Center provides more services to Lewisville citizens than any other city, according to data provided by CACDC.
Of the cities that contributed to CACDC, Lewisville paid the lowest percentage of its fair share.
That means even though the agency provided services to more than six times as many citizens in Lewisville than in Flower Mound, the latter provided $3,000 more in funding to the agency.
Lewisville’s contribution to the agency for the past two fiscal years has stagnated at $26,000 even though the agency requested $168,000 for the 2016-2017 fiscal year.
On May 1, Kellie Stokes, a member of the Children’s Advocacy Center board of directors, presented the city council with a request to pay its fair share for the services the organization provides.
Leal calculates “fair share funding,” an individualized amount sent to each municipality in Denton County that is determined by the amount of services provided to residents from each city. To find this amount, Leal subtracts all the funds the Children’s Advocacy Center receives through grants and other contributions, then divides the remainder proportionately among the agencies based on the number of services provided to the city’s residents.
The Children’s Advocacy Center has received grant funding from the Community Development Block Program and the City Social Service Agency fund, both through the City of Lewisville.
“The Children’s Advocacy Center has been funded from either or both of those funds for probably going on 20 years now,” said Jamey Kirby, City of Lewisville grants coordinator.
For 2017, the Community Development Block Grant program has a budget for social services of $90,639, which comes from federal grants. For the same time frame, the City Social Service Agency Fund has a $170,000 budget, which comes from local grants.
“What changed this year is the Children’s Advocacy Center has made a case for a while now that because of the work they do with law enforcement and prosecutors that they ask cities, not just Lewisville but smaller towns and other cities to fund them from their police department budget,” Kirby said. “But this year, the advocacy center is recommended for those funds plus a line item in the police dept budget.”
“We take a multidisciplinary approach toward each of the cases of child sexual abuse,” said Lewisville Police Department Chief Russ Kerbow. “What that means is that law enforcement, psychologists, medical professionals, the prosecutor’s office–all those guys play a part in trying to put together the best case to help prosecute offenders in those child sexual abuse cases.”
Due to the close dynamic between the agency and the police department, City Manager Donna Barron has moved the contractual portion of Children’s Advocacy Center funding into the police department budget for the coming year and increased their budget by $36,000 to pay for it.
Chief Kerbow said the Lewisville Police Department’s budget will not suffer from the funding change.
“We’re not taking away patrol hours because of the extra funding,” he said. “We’re not taking away any services we otherwise provide to citizens.”
Leal said he hopes other cities take note if the funding proposal is approved.
“Regardless of whether the city provides [the funds] or not, we will not say no to a child or family who needs our help from Lewisville,” he said. “We will continue to diversify our fund sources, but we really believe a funding increase will not only help provide more services to kids here, but it will be a positive communication for other cities to see that because other cities fund us as well.”
The Lewisville City Council will consider the annual budget which includes these items at its Aug. 12 workshop. The meeting is open to the public.