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Currently, there are several grant programs administered by DCF that fund victim services in Wisconsin. The grant programs are: 


  • Basic services - grants that fund operational and basic expenses at domestic violence victim shelters and programs. 

  • Support services - smaller grants that allow service providers to add specific programming to their service offerings. 

  • Services for children - funds that support counseling, programming and advocacy specifically for children.

  • Services for individuals who are members of under-served populations - funding for culturally and linguistically specific services that meet the unique needs of communities that for reasons of racial or other discrimination and oppression have faced specific and unique barriers when accessing services.   

  • Refugee Family Strengthening Project - support for culturally and linguistically specific services to refugee populations in the state of Wisconsin. 

Wisconsin statute section 49.165 mandates seven services that all state-funded shelters must provide. DCF also requires that non-residential programs provide the first four of these services. 

  • A 24-hour, seven-day-a-week crisis helpline, staffed by skilled and trained personnel - helpline staff responds to victims and their children in immediate crisis; provide information on safety, options and resources; and respond to the questions and concerns of family members, professionals, and the general public. 

  • Counseling and advocacy - programs provide a peer model of individual counseling, focusing on safety planning, exploring options, empowerment, and education.  Regularly scheduled support groups are also offered for victims and children. 

  • Information, referral and follow-up - programs are able to connect victims and their children to a myriad of community resources.  Programs also strive to stay connected to a victim after she leaves shelter or services, to offer on-going information and support. 

  • Community education - programs must ensure that the community is well aware of the availability and type of services offered. In addition, programs spend many hours educating the general public and professionals about the dynamics and impact of domestic abuse.  

  • Emergency shelter, temporary housing and food - shelter programs must provide a safe and welcoming environment, with staffing around the clock.  Nutritious meals, familiar to a resident’s cultural group, are also provided.  The average stay is about 27 days, and has been slowly increasing. However, stays of 60 days or longer are becoming increasingly common.

  • Emergency transportation - programs provide assistance to families to obtain transportation to safe shelter, either with program resources or through an arrangement with law enforcement.  In addition, programs often help a victim with transportation to a job, appointment, or court appearance or assist in arranging school transportation for the children.     

  • Arrangements for the education of school-age children - shelter staff assist with arrangements for school-age children residing in shelter to remain safe in their home school district, or when that is not possible, to enroll in another school system. All arrangements are made within 72 hours of a child arriving in shelter.

1.Maintain, Strengthen and Expand Core Services

All of the services funded by the five DCF grant programs are core services in Wisconsin's response to domestic violence victims - all are essential. Without services specifically designed for children, we might be able to attend to some of the immediate consequences of abuse that adults face, but we would be leaving vulnerable children unsupported, destined to carry the trauma and pain of abuse forward into the next generation. Without services specifically designed for underserved and refugee populations, we would be ignoring the unique challenges and issues that many victims in our diverse state encounter.


Therefore, future funding decisions and priorities should take account of each and all of these grant programs.


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