The Alliance Against Family Violence in Leavenworth has recently laid off seven of its employees due to financial struggles.

The Alliance Against Family Violence in Leavenworth has recently laid off seven of its employees due to financial struggles.

Kay Andersen, executive director of the Alliance, spoke of the layoffs during the organization's annual candlelight vigil Saturday night.

She blamed some of the financial problems on the recent partial shutdown of the federal government, which has held up federal grant money.

She said a change in the Alliance's accounting system that's been required at the state level also has delayed anticipated grant money.

"This has been very, very difficult for the Alliance family to do," she said of the layoffs.

Andersen explained Monday that a state office that administrators some of the grants the Alliance Against Family Violence receives has had a change in personnel and has required the Alliance to change its accounting system. She said the Alliance has had to convert a year's worth of data into the new system.

Andersen said the non-profit organization receives grants as reimbursement for money its already spent. And she said the changeover to the new accounting system and the government shutdown has prevented the organization from "drawing down" grant funds.

"We're owed a good amount of money," she said.

Andersen said the recent furloughing of federal employees during the government shutdown also may account for a drop in donations to the Alliance.

Andersen said the Alliance had been using reserve funds to pay its expenses.

"So we are now out of reserves," she said.

She said the Alliance provides most of its services for free including police response advocates who go to the scenes of domestic violence calls, a child advocacy center where children are interviewed and a shelter for victims.

She said there are a couple of things for which the Alliance charges fees.

"And we try to keep that reasonable," she said.

Andersen likened the layoffs Monday to furloughs and said she hopes to bring back the affected staff members as quickly as possible.

"We don't want to lose staff," she said. "They're well trained."

In the meantime, supervisors are taking on extra responsibilities so the Alliance can continue to offer the same programs.

"It's very hard," Andersen said. "It's very hard on everybody."

Sheriff Andy Dedeke was the guest speaker during Saturday's candlelight vigil ceremony. He acknowledged tough economic times have impacted organizations such as the Alliance.

"However, a shortage of funding should not prevent the essential services offered by the Alliance to cease," Dedeke said. "Too much good comes from the effort put forth by the Alliance staff."