Family Violence Program Shelter Center Provider Manual
Effective: September 1, 2008
The Family Violence Program, authorized and funded by the Texas Legislature and defined in Chapter 51 of the Human Resources Code (HRC), is a collaborative effort among the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC), the Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV) and nonprofit organizations. HHSC is the state agency that oversees and funds family violence services through contracts with locally based, community-supported organizations. HHSC contracts with TCFV, the state coalition against domestic violence, to provide support to the HHSC Family Violence Program and to provide technical assistance and training to existing and developing shelter centers, nonresidential centers and special nonresidential projects. HHSC contracts with shelter centers to provide the basic level of residential and nonresidential services as outlined in Chapter 51 of the HRC and as defined in this manual.
This provider manual is a technical resource for shelter center contractors. A shelter center is defined as a program that is operated by a nonprofit organization and provides comprehensive residential and nonresidential services to victims of family violence. The organization must be community-based, and the HHSC-funded Family Violence Program must have as its primary purpose the provision of family violence services. A shelter center should maintain financial sustainability through the cultivation of community support and the development of other funding resources.
This provider manual, through its rules, notes and suggested practices, reflects the philosophy that an HHSC-funded shelter center should be empowerment based. This means putting forward the conscious expectation that victims of family violence are in charge of their own lives and that the advocate's role is to help victims of family violence tap their own strengths and abilities. In addition, the provider manual promotes the principle that victims of family violence have the ability and the right to choose which shelter center services they want to access.
The Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) was enacted as Title 3 of the Child Abuse Amendments of 1984 (U.S. Code Title 42, Chapter 110). The FVPSA legislation authorizes the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to make grants to each state for the "establishment, maintenance, and expansion of programs and projects to prevent incidents of family violence and to provide immediate shelter and related assistance for victims of family violence and their children" (10402(a)(1)). The FVPSA can be referenced online at http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/usc.cgi?ACTION=BROWSE&TITLE=42USCC110.
HRC Title 2, Chapter 51, effective Sept. 1, 1981, promotes the development of locally based and locally supported nonprofit shelter centers and services for victims of family violence. It authorizes HHSC to contract with family violence centers, special projects and statewide organizations. The HRC can be referenced online at http://tlo2.tlc.state.tx.us/statutes/docs/HR/content/word/hr.002.00.000051.00.doc.
The Texas Administrative Code (TAC) Title 1, Chapter 379, further defines the requirements of all HHSC-funded family violence centers and special projects. The TAC can be referenced online at http://info.sos.state.tx.us/pls/pub/readtac$ext.ViewTAC?tac_view=4&ti=1&pt=15&ch=379.
Goals and Beliefs
The goal of the Family Violence Program is to promote self-sufficiency, safety and long-term independence from family violence for adult victims and their children. The program provides emergency, support and prevention services. Its major objectives are to:
- enhance the safety of adult victims and their children by providing temporary shelter and crisis intervention services, with consideration given to geographic distribution and need;
- ensure the responsiveness of community systems to the needs of adult victims and their children and ensure that adequate resources are available within the community to meet those needs; and
- provide public awareness about the criminality of acts of violence toward family members and to eradicate public misconceptions about battering.
HHSC-contracted family violence services are based on the following beliefs:
- The primary responsibility of a family violence contractor is to provide individualized services that foster maximum safety and self-determination on the part of the victim. Referrals are made in the best interest of the victim and the victim's children.
- The safety of the victim is paramount when establishing eligibility, admission, termination, re-admission and operational policies for residents and nonresidents.
- Family violence results from power and control that abusers attempt to exert over victims and is embedded in our social customs and institutions, leading to societal normalization and acceptance.
- Services are provided to all eligible victims of family violence without regard to race, national origin, sex, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation or the victim's previous or current lifestyle.
- Family violence centers and special nonresidential projects are instrumental in challenging society's attitudes and responses that support the continuation of family violence and promote the denial or minimization of the problem.
- Enhanced family violence center outreach improves access for underserved victims of family violence.
- Alternative locations and types of services must be available to expand access of services to all victims of family violence. A diversity of services and programs will reach a diversity of people.
- Outreach and service alternatives are most effective when they are designed and implemented by and for members of a particular underserved population.
- All adult victims of family violence and their children deserve access to resources that will help them increase safety and self-determination in their lives.
Organization and Administration
HHSC State Office
The Family Violence Program:
- develops rules and monitors adherence to state and federal policies and procedures within the Family Violence Program;
- evaluates eligibility to contract with the Family Violence Program;
- provides technical assistance to its contractors;
- contracts for training and technical assistance for its contractors' staff;
- determines contract allocations and distributes funds to its contractors;
- negotiates, processes, manages, monitors and evaluates contracts;
- processes reimbursements and maintains records regarding contract reimbursements;
- provides information and feedback on actions required to bring a contractor into compliance; and
- ensures a contractor's compliance with independent audit requirements, including audit resolution.
Family Violence Program staff provide technical assistance to its contractors' staff about program operations, program management, HHSC policies and procedures, record keeping, reporting and audit resolutions.
Texas Council on Family Violence
TCFV is a membership organization of autonomous, community-based family violence programs, related organizations and concerned individuals whose purpose is to end violence against women through partnerships, advocacy and direct service for women, children and men. TCFV’s purpose is to promote safe and healthy relationships by supporting service providers, facilitating strategic prevention efforts and creating opportunities for freedom from domestic violence.
Founded in 1978, TCFV was started by women who established the first Texas shelters for battered women and their children. They soon realized the need for statewide organization, information sharing, problem solving and legislative advocacy. TCFV's goals are to:
- provide support and assistance to family violence programs in Texas and other places;
- increase funding for Family Violence Programs and prevention;
- educate the public about the causes and effects of family violence;
- advocate for laws and policies that affect battered women and their children; and
- provide information and referrals to victims of family violence through the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
HHSC contracts with TCFV to provide the following services:
- technical assistance and training to HHSC family violence contractors and groups still in development on issues related to domestic violence;
- public education materials designed to end family violence and support family violence programs;
- recommendations on Family Violence Program policy development and interpretation; and
- support to the Family Violence Program.
The first Texas refuge for battered wives opened in 1875 in Belton and thrived until the 1890s. More than a century later, in the late 1970s, two shelters for battered women opened in Austin and Houston. Soon, shelters developed all over Texas and across the nation due to grassroots organization of battered women and other advocates against family violence. By 2003, there were more than 75 shelters for all victims of family violence in Texas. These shelters continue to be grassroots, autonomous and community-based organizations.
The board of directors or appropriate governing body of a shelter center has final authority and responsibility for the center. Because it receives state funds, however, the shelter center's policies must be consistent with the applicable family violence policies and rules in the this manual.
Organization and Uses of the Provider Manual
General Structure of the Manual
The manual is divided into the following sections:
- Clarifications and Suggested Practices: Seven main content sections provide information about relevant laws, notes about the required laws and rules, and suggested practices from the field.
- Section 1000, Board of Directors
- Section 2000, Contract Standards
- Section 3000, Fiscal Management
- Section 4000, Personnel
- Section 5000, Facility, Safety and Health
- Section 6000, Program Administration
- Section 7000, Service Delivery
- HHSC requirements:
The following format is within each section:
- A Law provides additional information regarding the
relevant state or federal law that is applicable to the center. Note
that the Family Violence Program has made an effort to ensure that updated
laws, regulations and TAC cited in this manual are current; however,
because of ever-changing laws, this manual may not contain all current
laws and regulations.
The relevant state and federal laws, TAC rule numbers and headings are presented first in each section under the title Law, followed by the notes (additional information or clarification of the rule) and suggested practices (recommendations or an outline of best practices). Rule cites throughout the manual regarding shelter centers are in TAC Title 1, Part 15, Chapter 379, Subchapter B. To review the rules in their entirety, refer to Appendix I, Family Violence Program Shelter Center Rules.
- A Note is a further clarification to HHSC’s policy, interpretation of the rule or added information such as website addresses or links to additional resources or information on the law and rule requirements.
- A Suggested Practice is an experienced-based best practice and recommendation identified by staff from Texas Family Violence Programs and TCFV. These are not HHSC requirements but are provided as a form of technical assistance and support to centers and projects.
Rules Requiring Policies and Procedures
A shelter center must develop and follow policies and procedures that comply with the TAC rules stated in this provider manual. A policy is a definite method of action approved by the organization's governing board, and a procedure is a series of steps designed by administration to implement a policy. TCFV is able to provide a shelter center with technical assistance and/or sample policies and procedures.