All programs supported by ACF, including TANF, have an important role in helping families who have become victims of sexual harassment or survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. These terms are often included under the definitions of domestic violence (DV) and intimate partner violence (IPV). ACF’s Office of Family Violence Prevention Services (OFVPS) administers the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA), which is the primary federal funding stream dedicated to supporting emergency shelters and related assistance for survivors of domestic violence and their children. As referenced in TANF-ACF-IM-2014-03, there is an abundance of information about domestic violence training, resources, and potential opportunities for collaboration.
Investment in meaningful training partnerships is critical to helping human services staff provide support to victims of sexual harassment or survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking and to their children when accessing TANF programs. Existing community resources provide options for training by professional domestic violence advocates on both the dynamics of domestic violence and appropriate interviewing techniques to encourage disclosure and safe access to services, such as safety planning and establishing good cause. We encourage TANF agencies to contact domestic violence coalitions or domestic violence shelter programs to provide required training to staff, as briefly outlined in TANF-ACF-PI-2022-02 published on April 14, 2022.
Incorporating trauma-informed care and support in state agency policies and practices will help to address and lessen the many barriers experienced by families impacted by sexual harassment, domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. Additionally, mutually beneficial training partnerships can help local domestic violence advocates and service providers better understand and make appropriate referrals to programs such as TANF, Head Start, Child Support, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
TANF programs should make every effort to assist families and children who are experiencing sexual harassment, domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking by sharing national, state, and local hotline information or numbers for local domestic violence intervention programs, either directly or by posting in public spaces that are frequented by staff and families.
States are encouraged to share these resources with TANF agency staff.
FVPSA State Administrators and Coalitions: Following are a few resources related to the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA), the primary federal funding stream of the Office of Family Violence and Prevention Services (OFVPS) that works across the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Administration of Children and Families to increase supports for survivors, including meeting the needs of children exposed to domestic violence.
FVPSA State Domestic Violence Coalitions:
FVPSA State Domestic Violence Coalitions are the ears and voices of survivor advocates and programs within their state. The FVPSA Program is the primary federal funding stream for State and Territorial Domestic Violence Coalitions, which coordinate state- and territory-wide improvements within local communities, social service systems, and programming regarding the prevention and intervention of domestic violence. The coalitions provide comprehensive training and technical assistance on a multitude of social, legal, and economic issues that affect survivors’ safety and well-being. Coalitions partner with government, private industry, non-profits, and faith-based communities, and other stakeholders to coordinate and improve the safety net of services available to survivors and their dependents. For a complete list of state domestic violence coalitions and their contact information, see State and Territorial Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Coalitions.
FVPSA State Administrators:
FVPSA State Administrators work with their stakeholders as family violence issues arise and develop state domestic violence plans to meet the needs of survivors and their families. Here’s a page with a PDF containing a list of entities receiving FVPSA State and Territory Formula Grant Program funding. The list includes each agency’s name, address, and website.
FVPSA Domestic Violence Training and Technical Assistance Resources:
The FVPSA Program funds domestic violence training modules and free online resources that can help social services agencies learn more about supporting domestic violence survivors and their children. Please use the FVPSA resource center website links below to access training from FVPSA technical assistance providers.
National and Special Issue Domestic Violence Resources:
A national network of resource centers exists to address the impact of domestic violence and dating violence within specific issue areas such as health, mental health, substance abuse, child protection, and legal services. These organizations also provide training and technical assistance; produce tools for advocates and practitioners; conduct research; and partner with agencies to increase their overall capacity to support individuals and families impacted by domestic violence. The training materials and resources below help child support professionals whose caseloads may include families experiencing domestic violence and raise awareness of issues faced by survivors. The Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) encourages child support programs to become familiar with these available resources.
National Culturally Specific Domestic Violence Resources:
A national network of organizations addresses the impact of domestic violence and sexual assault and implements culturally relevant trauma-informed services for ethnic and racially specific communities. These organizations provide training and technical assistance; produce culturally relevant tools for advocates and practitioners; conduct culturally relevant research; and strengthen partnerships between culturally specific organizations and service providers.
National Culturally Specific Sexual Assault Capacity Building Centers:
American Indian and Alaska Native Domestic Violence Resources:
These national organizations address the impact of domestic violence and dating violence within sovereign nations to reduce disparities. They provide training and technical assistance; produce culturally relevant tools for advocates and practitioners; conduct culturally relevant research; and strengthen partnerships to support development of village-based responses to domestic violence.
TANF TA: OFA provides technical assistance for TANF agencies and their partners regarding several topics, including DV and IPV. A small sample of related resources is included below, with a complete listing on the Peer TA website at: https://peerta.acf.hhs.gov/search/content
SAVES Demonstration Grants:
ACF awarded $11.2 million to one Tribal and 13 state child support agencies to implement comprehensive domestic violence services to survivors who need assistance accessing child support. Safe Access for Victims’ Economic Security (SAVES) is a new national demonstration model designed to develop, evaluate, and implement best practices to provide safe access to child support and parenting time services. States and tribes receiving SAVES demonstration funding will implement comprehensive domestic violence safety policies, procedures, and outreach activities to increase access to child support and parenting time services for parents not currently receiving child support due to safety concerns over a five-year project period. Grantees are in the states of Colorado, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.
Contact information for the ACF Office of Family Violence and Prevention Services (OFVPS):
Administration for Children and Families
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Please direct inquiries to the TANF Regional Program Manager in your region.
Collective action is needed to ensure appropriate responses and support for all families struggling with sexual harassment, domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. It is important for all ACF programs, including TANF, to partner with individuals, families, and communities to successfully support affected children and families.