Note: This story was updated at 1:50 p.m.
The YWCA has received funding that will expand its victim advocacy services to families with a history of domestic violence and who work with the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services East Region in Anderson, Loudon, and Roane counties.
The award—$179,795 during a three-year period—was received by YWCA Knoxville and the Tennessee Valley.
The DCS liaison victim advocate will be co-located at the YWCA’s Oak Ridge location and the DCS East Region site in Anderson County, a press release said.
YWCA is one of only four organizations across the state to receive Victims of Crime Act funding from the Tennessee Office of Criminal Justice Programs, the press release said.
“A parent’s decision not to seek refuge from an abusive relationship because of unfamiliarity with the child welfare system can place that parent and affected child in further danger,” said Maggie McNally, YWCA senior director of programs. “YWCA’s DCS liaison victim advocate will work closely with DCS staff on how to identify, respond to, and work with non-offending parents while providing cohesive and supportive advocacy services to victims and their families.”
The YWCA-DCS partnership formalizes the opportunity for referrals, trainings, and other resources to be shared between the two organizations, the press release said.
“Through this program, we are using a team approach to reduce domestic violence in Tennessee by identifying victims and connecting them with support and services from DCS to keep their families safe,” DCS Commissioner Jennifer Nichols said. “By co-locating the YWCA liaison at our DCS offices, needs can be instantly addressed, and we can collaborate on safety plans to best help victims and their families.”
In the DCS East Region, one out of four child protective services investigations are related to or have an element of domestic violence, indicating the community need. In 2018, YWCA served 240 victims of domestic violence in Anderson, Roane, and Loudon counties.
The YWCA Knoxville and the Tennessee Valley celebrated the opening of the renovated YWCA building in Oak Ridge with a ribbon-cutting and open house in October.
YWCA Knoxville and the Tennessee Valley is a 120-year-old social service organization with a mission of eliminating racism and empowering women. It is focused on offering victim advocacy services, violence prevention and education, transitional housing, and youth development programs across a six-county service area. YWCA has been offering a wide range of services to victims of domestic violence for 35 years, including culturally specific services for refugee, immigrant, Hispanic/Latina and black/African-American communities; referrals to partner organizations and shelters; referrals to one of the YWCA’s transitional housing programs; court- and community-based advocacy; crisis intervention; safety planning and danger assessment; and tangible assistance with housing and other essential basic needs, the press release said.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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