323 FAMILY/DOMESTIC VIOLENCE OPTIONS (FVO) (FAM)

SR 13-07 Dated 02/13

Previous Policy

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Families receiving or applying for Financial Assistance to Needy Families (FANF) financial assistance that include an individual who is or has been a victim of family/domestic violence, may request special consideration, including:

• an exemption from the 60-month lifetime limit on receipt of FANF;

• being excused from NHEP participation requirements; and

• a waiver of child support cooperation requirements (must complete DFA Form 754B, Good Cause Claim for Non-Cooperation with Child Support, as well if requesting this).

Definition of Family/Domestic Violence

The term "family/domestic violence" has the same meaning as "battered or subjected to extreme cruelty," and is defined as having been subjected to any of the following:

• physical acts that resulted in or threatened to result in physical injury to the individual;

• sexual abuse;

• sexual activity involving a dependent child;

• being forced as the caretaker relative of a dependent child to engage in nonconsensual sexual acts or activities;

• threats of, or attempts at, physical or sexual abuse;

• mental abuse; or

• neglect or deprivation of medical care.

Family/Domestic Violence Standardized Procedures and Documentation

The individual requesting to be excused from NHEP participation under the Family Violence Option (FVO) must complete DFA Form 754C, Request for Family/Domestic Violence Option, and provide any of the following documentation:

• court, medical, criminal, child protective services, social services, psychological or law enforcement records;

• a written statement from a public or private social agency;

• a written statement from a public or private social agency providing family/domestic violence services; or

• sworn statements from individuals, other than family members, knowledgeable of the circumstances.

Exception: If a client is unable to obtain the documentation listed above, accept the signed section on DFA Form 754C indicating that they or a family member are a victim of family/domestic violence and that compliance with program requirements would:

• make it more difficult for the family to escape the family/domestic violence;

• unfairly penalize the family who is or has been victimized by such violence; or

• put the family at further risk of family/domestic violence.

False information provided on DFA Form 754C will result in the denial of the Family Violence Option request and is referred to the Office of Special Investigations (OSI) for fraud investigation if the individual received FANF financial assistance based upon the false information.

While still with the client, the Family Services Specialist (FSS) or NHEP Employment Counselor Specialist (ECS) must contact the Assessment and Intervention Unit (AIU) at 1-800-852-3345 ext 9322 to schedule the client for an FVO assessment. The AIU Counselor can speak directly with the client to schedule an appointment. If the staff person reaches the AIU answering machine, the FSS or NHEP ECS can either:

• leave a message on the machine with the clients name, case number, and request reason; or

• email that information to the Lotus Notes mailbox FVO Community Referrals.

If the staff person or client does not make contact with an AIU Counselor to schedule this required FVO assessment, the FSS or NHEP ECS must notify the client that:

• the client is responsible for contacting the AIU at the number above within 2 days to schedule this assessment; and

• failure to schedule and participate in this assessment will result in an automatic denial of the hardship request or excused participation in NHEP.

Specific Requirements

An individual may request to be excused from NHEP requirements based on family/domestic violence provided they:

• follow the Family/Domestic Violence Standardized Procedures and Documentation above for documenting and verifying a claim based upon family/domestic violence;

• participate in an individualized FVO assessment with an AIU Counselor; and

• develop an individualized service plan.