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 Home > News & Policies > April 2002
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Government Roles

Federal Government

Citizen Corps is a vital component of President Bush's new USA Freedom Corps initiative, through which he wants to inspire every American to answer the call to service and to strengthen and expand service opportunities to protect our homeland, to support our communities, and to extend American compassion around the world. President Bush will continue to echo his call to service and encourage Americans to serve their communities through Citizen Corps.

Additional aspects of the federal government role in Citizen Corps will include:

  • Promoting Citizen Corps at the national level and providing a national message, a logo, and a brand;
  • Fostering state and community participation, overseeing progress, recognizing accomplishment, and providing opportunities for mentoring and sharing ideas and resources;
  • Compiling accurate information and developing training standards and training materials for Citizen Corps activities;
  • Conducting train-the-trainers courses to develop state training capabilities and providing on-line educational opportunities, as appropriate;
  • Helping identify volunteer programs and initiatives that support the goals of Citizen Corps;
  • Helping secure national partnerships to promote Citizen Corps throughout the country; and
  • Developing financial incentives and tie-ins with other federal programs to encourage local government participation in Citizen Corps.

At the national level, Citizen Corps is coordinated by FEMA, in collaboration with DOJ, and HHS and is supported by CNCS. In addition, FEMA is working with other federal agencies, national volunteer organizations, and representatives from first responders associations. FEMA’s regional offices will work with states and communities to help make Citizen Corps a success.

State Government

The responsibilities of state governments mirror those of the federal government and include the mission to encourage every community in the state to participate in Citizen Corps.

Local Citizen Corps Councils will be supported by a state coordinator for Citizen Corps. The state may also choose to create a state Citizen Corps Council to bring together a number of state, local, and community organizations to discuss opportunities for collaboration and ways to address the needs of communities across the state and to share innovative practices and ways to avoid pitfalls. Since this is primarily a local government initiative, it is critical that the state coordinator has a good working relationship with the local governments and serves as an advocate.

Key state responsibilities include: identifying needs and developing a statewide strategy for increasing the first responder and volunteer collaboration; developing statewide marketing strategies; matching Citizen Corps training needs with other major state training initiatives; reporting statewide accomplishments; and ensuring that Citizen Corps communities receive consideration for any relevant grant funding administered by the state.

An example of this is supporting 1-800-FIRE-LINE, a toll free number that interested citizens can call to learn more about volunteer fire/EMS opportunities in their community. Currently, the fireline service is available in only 30 states. Through Citizen Corps, 1-800-FIRE-LINE could be available in all states and territories by having volunteers staff the phone line and provide information.

States could also support Citizen Corps by developing relevant state policies and practices. To lend their support, governors and other state representatives could also promote Citizen Corps in public speaking engagements, press conferences, and media events.

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