How NCA Gets Federal Funding Flowing to CACs and Partners

Every year, NCA leads our field in advocating for federal funding for CACs through the Victims of Child Abuse Act (VOCAA). While Congress appropriated $21 million under VOCAA to go to the field for 2018, slightly less than half of that is actually earmarked for the National Subgrants program. Some funds are allocated to other organizations that serve victims, Chapters, CACs (including the Regional CACs), and MDT partners. Some of these funds go toward different NCA programs that benefit CACs and Chapters, and DOJ withholds a certain amount for their own administrative and other costs. The following graphic provides a breakdown of how funds are distributed.


VOCAA Funding Flowchart for 2018


Where does all that money go?

With $21 million in funds authorized under VOCAA in play, it’s important to clarify that NCA does not receive this entire amount. It goes to support a variety of programs that serve child victims of abuse through the CAC model, both through NCA and through other partners. NCA receives grants to support its membership and accreditation programs, supporting your needs and the costs associated with maintaining our accreditation work and site review. We also receive funds to defray administrative costs, and to develop our own programs and projects that benefit CACs and the children we serve.

While NCA receives about half of the total as part of the National Subgrants Program, other partners receive a portion, as well. Finally and significantly, the U.S. Department of Justice holds onto nearly $3.5 million in administrative and other costs—a growing proportion of these funds appropriated by Congress to address child abuse, now up to 17% of the total.

Here’s the breakdown of where the $21 million in total FY 2017 VOCAA funds goes: 


VOCAA Allocations Pie Chart 2018

When do these funds become available to CACs?

Usually, after receiving final approval of the grant and the NCA RFP by DOJ, NCA awards funds sometime in the second quarter of the year. However, because the process is complex, the launch timing of NCA’s Requests for Proposals (RFPs), and therefore the distribution of funds, varies from year to year. That said, the process is linear and predictable. As long as Congress appropriates funds for CACs through this act, they are coming. We’ve broken it down into 12 steps.

  1. CACs, Chapters, and NCA advocate to Congress for continued VOCAA funding
  2. Congress appropriates VOCAA Funding
  3. OJJDP issues an RFP for National Subgrants Program funding for CACs and Chapters
  4. NCA submits a proposal in response to the RFP
  5. OJJDP reviews grant proposals and notifies NCA if awarded
  6. OJJDP approves the award budget
  7. NCA submits CAC and Chapter RFPS to OJJDP for approval
  8. OJJDP reviews, edits, and approves the RFPs
  9. NCA releases approved RFPS to CACs and Chapters
  10. CACs and Chapters submit proposals to NCA to apply for funding
  11. Peer and expert grant reviewers score applications
  12. NCA makes awards to CACs and Chapters

The cycle begins again each year when Congress appropriates new funds for the next year’s federal budget. If you think of the process like a stopwatch, the timing of the release of our RFP to the field is set in motion when Congress hits the start button. That’s why RFPs are often released at different times each year—Congress and DOJ act at their own pace, and must complete their work before NCA releases its RFPs to the field. The graphic on the following page illustrates how the process works, as well as key timeframes and action steps for CACs and Chapters.


GRAPHIC: "From Congress to You: How NCA Gets Grant Funds Flowing"

What funds are available to my CAC?

Funding to CACs and Chapters under the National Subgrants Program is now divided into two major categories: competitive grants for individual CACs, and formula grants for Chapter direct support and subgrants. You can apply directly for competitive funding in many different grant areas. Please see this year’s RFPs for details on these grant categories and how to apply. In all, $1,030,000 in competitive grants funds are available directly to individual CACs.  An additional $7,428,000 is available through Chapters for administrative costs, CAC statewide projects, direct support to CACs and subawards.


Does NCA make direct grants to individual CACs anymore?

NCA had a long history of making direct subgrants to individual member CACs. However, the number of members (and children they serve each year) has grown significantly  while the amount of total VOCAA funding has remained flat, leaving less and less each year for direct grantmaking to individual CACs.


Number of Children's Advocacy Centers x VOCAA Funding to NCA, 2008-2017

At the urging of the field, NCA is pursuing a strategic goal to expand access to CACs by growing their number to serve all children. Meanwhile, in Washington, funding growth is exceedingly rare. A growing number of CACs and flat growth in funding meant a diminishing amount available for grants in any given future year. NCA consulted with CACs, Chapters, and finance experts and decided to shift its grantmaking structure toward funding Chapter-led statewide projects instead of providing small subawards to CACs.

Are subawards still available if my CAC is experiencing a hardship?

As was the case last year, individual CACs meeting certain need-based conditions may apply for a hardship waiver to receive a Chapter subaward from NCA. For more information, see the FAQ “About Hardship Waivers for Individual CAC Subawards.”

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