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February 16, 2020

The Honorable Ron DeSantis

Governor of the State of Florida

Dear Governor DeSantis,

The undersigned executive leadership of domestic violence centers – all of us providers certified by the Department of Children and Families (DCF) – thank you for initiating an investigation into the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence (FCADV). We stand with you and fully support your directive to DCF to “…take all appropriate actions to prevent potential harm to Florida’s vulnerable victims of domestic violence.”

Shocked and gravely concerned with what we learned this week, about the exorbitant compensation paid to the CEO of FCADV, FCADV’s continued resistance to requests for information from public bodies, and the apparent flagrant sacrifice of the welfare of domestic violence survivors to personal greed, the undersigned center executives demand the resignations of the FCADV Board of Directors.

Transparency and accountability are core values to which we are committed as service providers, and as stewards of public funding and public trust. Our agencies take our public service roles seriously; the communities we serve depend on us to do so. We are directly responsible for providing services that can mean the difference between life and death for domestic violence victims and their children. We remain steadfastly committed to ensuring that these vital services continue without interruption, as our shared mission and focus demonstrate. We welcome all inquiries without hesitation.

In this transition, we remain confident that, under your leadership, we can continue to meet our commitments to provide quality services to victims of domestic violence and their children in our communities, across the state. As needed changes to the administration of domestic violence funding are being developed and implemented under DCF, we remain ready to assist in any way that would be useful to the process moving forward.

Very truly yours,

Sunshine Arnold, MSW, CEO, Citrus County Abuse Shelter Association (CASA), Inc.

Margaret A. Baldwin, Executive Director, Refuge House, Inc.

Jennifer Benton, CEO, Abuse Counseling and Treatment (ACT), Inc.

Judy Brophy, Interim CEO, SafeSpace, Inc.

Tammy Douglass, Executive Director, Help Now of Osceola, Inc.

Lariana Forsythe, CEO, Community Action Stops Abuse (CASA), Inc.

Patricia “Trish” Giaccone, MS, CEO, Family Life Center, Inc. Flagler County.

Jeanne Gold, CEO, SafeHouse of Seminole, Inc.

Andrea Gottry, Executive Director, Another Way, Inc.

Jessica Hays, CEO, Safe Place and Rape Crisis Center (SPARCC), Inc.

Heather Jones, Executive Director, Micah’s Place, Inc.

Joyce Mahr, CEO, Safety Shelter of St. John’s County (Betty Griffin Center), Inc.

Karen McElhaney, Executive Director, Center for Abuse and Rape Emergencies (CARE), Inc.

Mindy Murphy, CEO, The Spring, Inc.

Linda Oberhaus, CEO, Shelter for Abused Women and Children, Inc.

Pam O’Brien, President and CEO, Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse (AVDA), Inc.

Linda Parker, PhD., Director of Victim Services, Peace River Center, Inc.

Dr. Gail A. Patin, LCSW, CEO, Hubbard House, Inc.

Angie Pye, Executive Director, Domestic Abuse Council DBA Beacon Center, Inc.

Mary Riedel, President and CEO, Women in Distress, Inc.

Lori Slaven, Executive Director, Lee Conlee House, Inc.

Shannon Sokolowski, MNM, Executive Director, Dawn Center of Hernando County Inc.

Kelly Sinn, CEO, Sunrise Domestic and Sexual Violence Center, Inc.

Michelle Sperzel, CEO, Harbor House of Central Florida, Inc.

Kathy White, Executive Director, Vivid Visions, Inc.

Rosalyn Wik, CEO, Shelter House, Inc.


cc. Mr. Chad Poppell, Secretary, Florida Department of Children and Families

Ms. Melinda Miguel, Chief Inspector General

Mr. Richard L. Swearingen, Commissioner, Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Board of Directors, Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Inc.

Melody Keeth, Chair

Angela Diaz-Vidailet, 1st Vice Chair

Theresa Beachy, Treasurer

Laurel Lynch, Director

Sherrie Schwab, Director

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