Alexandria, VA—Following its well-documented provision of disaster services in the aftermath of Katrina and last year’s Gustav and Ike, Catholic Charities USA has been selected by the government to provide disaster case management nationwide. It is the first-ever Federal contract for the 100 year old human service organization.Certainly it is a great statement about the effective, healing and far-reaching hand of Catholic Charities for them to be given such a contract. I am also very concerned whenever the government has a finger on a Catholic anything. Do keep in mind that the HHS is headed by the very same Kathleen Sibelius (Dr. Tiller's biggest fan) discussed here at +Ponderings+ several times in the past.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and its Administration for Children and Families(ACF) section has awarded Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) a multi-year, multi-million dollar contract to prepare for and provide disaster case management operations throughout the United States and all its Territories. The contract, which spans a 5-year timeframe, was effective July 20. While it covers all types of disasters, the agreement is just in time to help ensure that the federal government and FEMA are prepared with case management resources for the ‘09 Hurricane season. Under the contract HHS can issue task orders to CCUSA for aid in connection with a specific disaster.
“We all hope and pray for zero disasters, but reality forces us to be prepared,” said Rev. Larry Snyder, President and CEO of Catholic Charities USA. “Our people, our agencies, and our partners have exceptional first-hand experience—not only from Katrina, Gustav and Ike—but from our every day work in serving those most devastated and most in need across the country. People know they can turn to Catholic Charities to get the job done. We thank the Department of Health and Human Services for their confidence in us.”
The expansive contract calls for CCUSA to organize national, regional and local teams and to work in partnership with these teams to help ensure disaster case management preparedness and delivery. Acting as General Contractor, CCUSA will pre-identify local/regional volunteers and sub-contractors, enter into agreement with them, provide training and experience in disaster case management, and be ready to deploy and implement anywhere in the country within 72 hours of a FEMA designated disaster.
The first task order issued under the contract will fund case management work relating to the aftermath of Gustav and Ike. Fr. Snyder, who became president of the organization in 2005 and almost immediately became involved in Katrina response as part of his start-up leadership, will take an active oversight role for the contract.
“It’s a very strong endorsement of who we are and what we do, and powerful recognition of the donors who support us and who we will now need to count on more than ever.” Fr. Snyder continued. “The contract funding is specifically for disaster case management operations, which handle individual and family needs long after the initial impact. It does not cover disaster response direct assistance, so we must continue to maintain and grow our donations to support that critical front.”
“It really is a tremendous opportunity for CCUSA,” added Fr. Snyder. “We are up to the task, and have the commitment and compassion to make sure we live up to the trust placed in us.” He further noted that Catholic Charities, which at approximately $4 billion is among the top five largest non-profit charities in the country, will reach out to its counterpart major organizations such as Red Cross, Salvation Army and others to communicate the contract and establish any mutual engagement opportunities.
As Tim Drake at the National Catholic Register notes:
There are those who say that Catholic college and universities’ decisions to accept federal monies and federal student aid grants have resulted, in some cases, in faculties where the majority of educators are not Catholic, thus weakening the Catholic identity of the school and the ability of students to receive an authentically Catholic education.+