Attendees: Dorinda Edmisten, Dr. Karen Worley, Gracie Gonner, Melanie Mata, Candy Garland, Sherry Williamson, Sara Rudolph-Pollard, Sam Siegel, Stasia McDonald, Laura Robertson, Toss Worthington, Suzanne Lumpkin, Judge Blake Batson, Tess Fletcher, Dr. Sufna John, Jimmy Turnbow, Heather McKim, Elizabeth Pulley, Major Jeff Drew, Dr. Karen Farst, Cristy Sellers, Laura Abbott.
Opening Remarks: Dorinda Edmisten welcomed everyone. Announced a new list of Commissioners had arrived the day before to the Commission and a new list would be provided as soon as the Commission could confirm all appointees with the new administration. New appointees and reappointments were done on December 31, 2022 by Governor Hutchinson.
Child Welfare Committee: Update given by Sherry Williamson. CAN RFP process underway. Was released October 2022 with a December 2022 deadline. All applications had been reviewed and passed onto the Review Committee for awarding of grants. 14 applications were received last year with 9 awards, and this year 23 applications were received with 21 meeting all necessary requirements. Funding will depend on the scoring by the Review Committee and there are two grant options. Dorinda asked about Sherry’s training that was provided for the RFP application process. One large training was done by Zoom and examples were provided to attendees of existing prevention programs in other states. Sherry also provided some separate individual trainings upon request. Committee meeting for January 11th was cancelled and will be rescheduled.
Sexual Assault Prevention Committee: Update given by Sam Siegel. CVRB update…Laura Robertson had a productive meeting with Dr. Jan Church, the Chair of the Board. The review process is backlogged and more staff has been added to help the process move more quickly. Everyone on same page now in regard to what and how reimbursements can be made. ACASA will set a meeting with the CRVB Board to makes sure no miscommunications going forward. Subcommittee is working on educational materials and website that can provide updated information especially to more rural clinics and hospitals. Planning for the Hospital Protocol Conference is underway. First meeting for that planning committee was held the week of January 23rd. Working with UAMS and TeleSANE nurse program to get better data from hospitals. Want to fill sexual assault data gaps. RPE update…focus shift to community level intervention. RPE grant money was reduced and cuts had to be made. One program in the eastern part of the state could not be sustained or fully funded due to the cuts. Funds were returned by ACASA who was overseeing the program and those funds were distributed to the four remaining RPE programs. This is the last year of the 5-year funding cycle. Also looking into a training for SAFE BARS for Arkansas.
Dr. Farst had some comments in regard to the CVRB issues. There are things that were not being reimbursed by the CVRB Board. If there was a delay in reporting by a minor that might affect reimbursement, though by law it should not. There is no time line for reporting by a minor. Pregnancy and STD tests were not considered sexual assault exams for reimbursement purposes. If rape exam was not done, nothing could be reimbursed. Some research may be needed on the federal law requirements. Training is definitely needed for the CVRB staff and Board. They have been problems with them running out of money for reimbursements annually. A separate work group would be beneficial to address the ongoing issues with CVRB.
Next committee meeting is set for February 15th at 1:30pm via Zoom.
Domestic Violence Prevention Committee: Update was provided by Gracie Gonner. DV Committee met on January 13th. More members had joined the Committee and attended the meeting. Dr. Neil Websdale was helping Sara Rudolph-Pollard and the Coalition work on forming a DV Fatality Review Board. Shelters were participating in the Committee meeting. A couple of incidents of shelters having to call the child abuse hotline were discussed. The DV Committee and the Coalition are working together on mandated reporter training for shelters and how best to make a hotline report, especially when confidentiality is a big issue. Next Committee meeting is set for April 14th at 10:00am.
CAN RPD programs will be updated at the June meeting. This meeting was being held right before final review of the applications. All nine of the previous grantees had reapplied this year.
Dr. Farst asked if anyone had any updates on the new structure of DCFS. Mischa Martin was not present for the meeting so there were no updates.
In-person meeting was discussed for June meeting. Was determined that it would be held in-person in Little Rock but with a virtual option for those that cannot attend. Meeting will be held June 21st. May have informal lunch and orientation before the meeting. Elizabeth Pulley said they would be happy to host the lunch if needed.