The four-county Council Against Domestic Abuse and Sexual Assault (CADA/SA) will merge with a similar organization serving four other counties as of July 1, Julie Schulenberg, sexual assault coordinator, informed the Cherokee County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.
The information was presented during the annual budget request for CADA/SA. A request for $6,300 was made, which is the same request made last year. The organization provides emergency shelter for women and their children leaving abusive situations, support in establishing independent living for these victims of abuse and counseling for abuse victims.
CADA/SA, which serves Cherokee, Buena Vista, Ida and Sac counties, is merging with Centers Against Abuse and Sexual Assault (CAASA) which serves Clay, Dickinson, Osceola and Palo Alto counties. The merged organization will be called CAASA and be headquartered in Spencer.
The only immediate cost savings from the merger cited by Schulenberg would be the elimination of one director position. Sally Dobson, CADA/SA director, is taking a position with the Iowa Department of Human Services.
Schulenberg said that the CADA House in Cherokee, a domestic abuse shelter, will continue to be in operation. The New Leaf store in Cherokee will also continue to operate. The New Leaf store sells used furniture and household items. It serves as both a fund raiser and a resource when setting up households.
New Leaf has been successful beyond initial expectations and a New Leaf North will be set up in Spencer.
The CADA House has less use than it had in the past, not because of a reduction of women and children leaving abusive homes but because those situations are handled differently now. The shelter has always been a temporary haven, a step toward independence. Now, this intermediate step is often skipped.
"We provide more help in setting up households than perhaps anywhere in the state," Schulenberg stated.
The CADA house is now used mostly in cases where there is imminent danger from a spouse or domestic partner. When it is needed, it could be literally a life or death situation.
Patrick Schmitz of Plains Area Mental Health presented a budget request that is an increase of about 5 percent over the funding for the present fiscal year.
The cost is estimated at $80,168. The cost is an estimate because part of the cost (an estimated $45,000) is in "fees for services" which will vary depending on how much it is used.
Other budget requests were made by Scott Gebers of the Cherokee County Conservation Department and by Doug Stowater and Chuck Tolzin of the Cherokee County Fair Board.