For a few months, Terri Headrick was holding her breath, wondering not only if she would have a job for the rest of the year, but if the people she has worked with as part of the Domestic Violence Response Team would become forgotten.
Tuesday, an announcement at the Newton City Commission meeting brought the victim witness coordinator’s wait for an answer to a close — the city has received a grant through the Kansas Governor’s grant program to keep the DVRT team active until the end of December.
“It was a life saver,” Headrick said. “I don’t think there is any doubt in anyone’s mind that we are making a difference, and the program addressed the concern.”
The City was awarded funding from the state Stop Violence Against Women Act grant for the Domestic Violence Response Team. The one-year $94,440 grant will fund a domestic violence investigator position in the Newton Police Department and a victim/witness coordinator position with Newton Municipal Court.
Assistant City Manager Lunda Asmani reported Tuesday the city would need to put forward 25 percent matching funds — and the city could pay those funds from reserves. The commission voted unanimously to continue the program.
But there was a caveat.
“As we move forward with grants, we need to think about the future at the beginning,” said commissioner Willis Heck.
Heck, who once was a member of the board of education, said that before a grant that involves the hiring of staff is applied for the city should consider what plan might be in place after the grants expire.
In the case of the DVRT, a joint effort between the city and Harvey County, loss of grant funds could mean the loss of a job for at least one person. The other city employee, a police officer, would possibly be able to return to patrol duty.
“We do nedd to look down the line. This will carry us through 2012, we need to be looking at 2013,” Headrick said. “There was some interest shown by the city to see if they could make this happen, but that is only an interest. There is no commitment and no formal plan (to add the program to the city budget).”