|By State Rep. Tarah Toohil (R-Luzerne)
Legislation was recently signed into law that provides additional educational support from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to children who are victims of violent crime, or who lose their parents as the result of a violent crime. I am a co-sponsor of Act 42 of 2018
, formerly House Bill 1929, which ensures these young people benefit from the First Chance Trust Fund. The prime sponsor of the new law is Rep. Ron Marsico of Dauphin County, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.
The fund was created last year to provide monies to children of prisoners. Act 42 expands the program to include children of the victims impacted by those prisoners, so they are cared for as well.
The public charitable trust does not require the use of taxpayer dollars. Administered by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, it is funded by private, tax-deductible donations and a 1 percent surcharge on vendors that have a contract with the Department of Corrections exceeding $5 million. Other Pennsylvania agencies also have the option to include a similar provision in their contracts.
Initially, the trust fund is expected to generate $500,000 to $1 million annually. The program will target regions of the state that have statistically higher high school dropout rates and risks of incarceration.
Losing a parent as a result of a violent crime is devastating to the child who is left behind, and it can be a significant roadblock to their success as an adult. The program, which is the first of its kind in the country, enables these young people to access programs they need to complete school and become healthy and productive members of society.
Representative Tarah Toohil
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact: Rep. Toohil’s Office