This is in response to the recent revelations by the Florida House Public Integrity and Ethics Committee which detailed a flagrant mishandling of funds by the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence (FCADV). I watched with complete repugnance as the investigation of FCADV brought to light the exorbitant compensation to the former CEO, abuse of taxpayer dollars, resistance to repeated requests for information from public bodies and a breach of public trust. All of this with apparent disregard to the welfare of domestic violence survivors. I am so very thankful to the media for uncovering this darkness and to our Florida Legislature for investigating the corruption within the leadership of FCADV.

This corruption and breach of public trust has caused turmoil for our center and many others throughout the state committed to providing safe havens for women, children and men who are victims of domestic violence. We fully support and stand with those charged to investigate FCADV. Our center and the services we provide are quite literally the difference between life and death.

I want to assure the citizens of Citrus County that although CASA has received state and federal funds passed through FCADV, our center is also certified by the Department of Children and Families (DCF). DCF is now tasked to oversee the state funding for Florida’s domestic violence centers. CASA recognizes and supports the immediate need for change in the administration of these funds and is committed to ensure our vital services continue to save lives during this period of transition.

Our center has and will always operate ethically. We will continue to ensure funds intended for the benefit and safety of domestic violence survivors are utilized appropriately. CASA and our board of directors remain steadfastly committed to continue providing these vital services to survivors of domestic violence with unwavering integrity and accountability.

Sunshine Arnold is the CEO of CASA.