By Elsa Maxey
Unless you have recently undergone a divorce in Fort Bend County would you have known about and/or paid $15 with a court filing for what is called a family protection fee. Those fees collected by the District Clerk’s office when a lawsuit for divorce is filed comprise a fund that will be used for awarding grants to non-profit organizations for family protection services.
In accordance with a state statute, the county states that the funds are for prevention or intervention services for family violence or services related to the abuse or neglect of a child. Towards that end, it recently announced the grant opportunity for non-profits in a news release that came from Judge Bob Hebert’s office.
The county’s announcement states that grants are available for up to $33,000 for the upcoming calendar year and to be considered for a grant award, an application, which form is found on the county’s website, must be filed by 5 p.m., December 30.
This is the second year the funds will be awarded for this purpose. “FY (fiscal year) 2013 was the first time the funding was made available for grants as there was a surplus of revenue from the marital dissolution fees,” Beth Wolf, Community Relations Manager for the county, told the “Star”. Wolf also said the two agencies awarded then were the Women’s Center and CASA, each receiving $148,800.
For 2014, the number of grants to be awarded will depend on the number of applications received and those meeting the criteria for funding, she said. “The amount of funding may vary per year due to the amount of fees collected, but the average will be around $30,000-$35,000,” Wolf added. She also said matching funds are not required for receiving the grant funds. Information on the county’s website states that applications and documents may be sent by email to email@example.com, and that notification by email will follow about two weeks later if the grant is awarded.