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Sonoma County’s Family Justice Center could close amid budget crunch

The Press Democrat | June 23, 2020

The Family Justice Center, a central hub of services for victims of domestic violence and elder abuse, is facing the threat of closure as Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch identifies up to $2.7 million in budget cuts to meet demands from the county administrator’s office.

The District Attorney’s Office is just one of more than two dozen county agencies asked to propose reductions as county government seeks to cut an estimated $50 million from its budget in anticipation of a sharp decline in tax revenues resulting from the pandemic-driven recession.

Ravitch, who oversees a department with a $31 million budget, has been tasked with cutting spending by about 8%. She said she is reluctantly proposing to cut funding for the Family Justice Center in order to keep prosecutors in the courtrooms, offering up a well-respected program as a sacrifice to meet the county’s budget targets. Ravitch said she could save the equivalent of two attorney positions by ending the District Attorney’s Office role as fiscal manager of the center, which is also staffed by local law enforcement agencies and victim service organizations.

“It’s very likely that the Family Justice Center is going to close,” Ravitch said. “It’s not an essential service, even though I consider it essential. My office’s essential work is to prosecute crimes.”

Read Full Article: The Press Democrat