The 200 presentations given by the Rape Crisis Intervention Service of Carroll County were all free last year, but the agency has begun charging $50 per appearance, community educator Diana Steppling said yesterday.
"We'll be lucky in an hour presentation if we break even with $50," Ms. Steppling said. "It will just defray our cost."
She said the service began charging the fee for new bookings earlier this month.
Ms. Steppling said she offered to work four days a week instead of five to help compensate for the budget cuts, but she is still trying to give the same number of presentations.
The presentations involve handing out pamphlets and showing videos, projected images and other materials.
Topics covered include child sexual abuse, date/acquaintance rape and sexual harassment.
Ms. Steppling said cuts in federal and state grants and the threat of future cuts combined with escalating costs to force the center to charge for its presentations.
However, presentations to public schools will remain free because of county funding that supports the agency, she said.
The agency provides other services, including a hot line and counseling.
The charge for an hour of counseling with a licensed therapist is only $10, Ms. Steppling said, and that can be waived if the client cannot afford it.
The agency also will help groups raise the $50 fee with suggestions such as asking all members or participants to bring $1, Ms. Steppling said.
"We're pretty good at getting a lot out of a little, but we've just hit our maximum," she said.