WHAT IS THE FAMILY VIOLENCE OPTION ADVOCACY PROGRAM?
The Family Violence Option Advocacy Program (FVOAP) assists Department of Human Services (DHS) clients who are victims/survivors of domestic violence. The FVOAP works with the DHS, the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence (RICADV), RI Works (RI’s cash assistance program), and the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP). Through the FVOAP program, clients may be able to obtain a waiver from certain requirements of the RI Works program or Child Care Assistance Program.
The FVOAP also provides victims/survivors with other kinds of assistance such as immediate crisis counseling and safety planning. They can also connect you with your local domestic violence agency and provide referrals to help you obtain orders for protection, legal services, housing assistance, basic needs assistance, emergency shelter, counseling and support group referrals, and assistance from other various programs and services throughout the state.
WHO ARE FVOAP ADVOCATES?
FVOAP advocates work with the DHS and through the Women’s Resource Center to provide you with referrals if you are a victim/survivor of domestic violence. (They are NOT DHS caseworkers.) They can also help you with the paperwork necessary to apply for a waiver. FVOAP advocates only make a recommendation to DHS about a waiver; they do not make the final decision. Any questions about eligibility, case processing, resources, income, etc. should be directed to your assigned DHS staff.
WHAT KINDS OF WAIVERS ARE AVAILABLE TO ME?
As a victim/survivor of domestic violence applying for Child Care Assistance Program benefits you may be eligible for a Child Support Waiver. If you are applying for cash assistance through the RI Works program, you may be eligible for a Child Support Waiver, and/or a Work Waiver, or Hardship Extension. If you want to pursue the other parent for child support, but want to keep your location confidential, you can request an address block.
Remember: The sooner you disclose your safety concerns to an FVOAP advocate or to a Department of Human Services caseworker, the sooner you can take the steps necessary to get a waiver put in place.
Click here to learn how to reach your FVOAP Advocate.