ACP Collaboration: The Key to the Successful Implementation

Molly Voyles and Andrea Edgerson, TCFV Policy Staff

The Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV) is a statewide coalition of family violence service providers and allied programs that works to promote safe and healthy relationships by supporting service providers, facilitating strategic prevention efforts and creating opportunities for freedom from family violence. One core aspect of TCFV's mission is to proactively advocate the enactment of laws that will visibly assist victims of family violence. TCFV's legislative agenda during the 80th legislative session included the introduction and adoption of legislation (SB 74) creating a state-operated Address Confidentiality Program (ACP). Authored by Texas Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr., SB 74 designated the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) as the state agency responsible for the implementation and administration of the program. The ACP is a vital tool, as part of an overall safety plan, for domestic violence survivors who are in the most danger. TCFV was privileged to collaborate with the OAG on various aspects of the implementation of the program.

Following the passage of SB 74, TCFV staff visited ACP programs in Washington and Pennsylvania. TCFV had extensive conversations with program representatives about the logistics of program operation and held discussions with the local domestic violence coalition regarding their role in the implementation and technical assistance process. The Washington program was selected because it had been in existence since 1991 and was a proven model for other state programs to replicate. Pennsylvania was the most recent state to implement an ACP in 2005 and provided a fresh perspective on the implementation process. The Pennsylvania program was one of a few not housed in the Secretary of State's office as is the case in Texas. In March of this year Ms. Cathleen Patrick with the Secretary of State's Office in California, visited TCFV headquarters to train members of the policy team on their program. The knowledge gained from these site visits provided TCFV with essential information and resources to share with the OAG while working on the implementation of the Texas Address Confidentiality Program.

In the spring of this year TCFV began to train family violence advocates on ACP at various training events including its New Workers Institute and regional training sessions across the state. This coming fall, TCFV will provide training on ACP and other aspects of relocation for survivors at its annual conference in Dallas on September 25th-26th.