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D.H.R. Project

This collaborative project helps women who receive government assistance. The goal is to help women overcome the many obstacles they face in getting off government assistance and getting jobs.

The Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Alabama Department of Human Resources are collaborating to provide domestic violence assessment and services for DHR clients.

The project funded by federal Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF) money, puts a domestic violence specialist in each county DHR office to work with women in TANF, JOBS and Services programs, who have been identified as experiencing domestic violence.

"Our goal is to reach women who might not call our shelter programs or our hotline, but need help dealing with the domestic violence in their relationship," said Emily Kelly, D.H.R. Project Coordinator. "Many of these women are seen by Department of Human Resource staff every day. By going into county DHR offices, we hope to reach out to victims by connecting them with services at the local shelters, and getting through the challenges they face in getting a job."

Domestic violence victims are at high risk of needing welfare. They often experience:

  • Difficulty getting and keeping jobs.
  • Physical and psychological disabilities from abuse that interferes with independence.
  • Serious safety risks from abuser when participating in welfare-to-work programs.
This project is designed to address the clients' underlying problem of domestic violence, and by doing so, assist them in safely obtaining employment and independence from welfare.

Eligible clients are screened for domestic violence and referred to the domestic violence specialist. Clients at risk for welfare dependency because of domestic violence are also referred. More than 886 clients received services in 2001.

Domestic Violence and Welfare connections

Statistics show a high correlation between domestic violence and women on welfare.

  • A study of women in a welfare-to-work training program in New Jersey showed that one in seven were being physically abused and one in four were verbally or emotionally abused. More than half said they had been physically abused at some time in their lives.
  • A three-year study by the Better Homes fund found that respondents who cycled on and off welfare were likely to have been abused, and that domestic violence plays a "significant role in women's ability to stay off assistance."
Domestic violence can create insurmountable barriers to women's ability to comply with welfare-to-work mandates.

Domestic violence victims face abusers who may:

  • Sabotage her work by harassing her on the job, destroying tools or clothing needed for work, take away her transportation, or deny help with child care.
  • Stalk her at work, intending to assault or kill her.
  • Cause physical or psychological injuries from abuse that make it difficult or impossible to work.
Specialists assist victims to:
  • Identify safety issues around work.
  • Develop safety plans to reduce the danger.
  • Find resources to be safe at work and home.
  • Work with the local shelter to deal with the effects of abuse.
Specialists help clients write safety plans and work with DHR staff to revise plans to address domestic violence and other needs. Specialists refer clients to local shelter services as needed, and serve as advocates with services providers.

D. H. R. consultants work with the DHR staff on how to intervene with domestic violence victims and provide on-site training for DHR staff on domestic violence and its impact on welfare, children and adults.

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D.H.R. Project
OFFICE
4628 Montevallo Road
Suite 101
Birmingham, AL 35210
205-380-2395
fax: 205-380-2397

STAFF
Emily Kelly
Project Coordinator

Consultants
Lisa Clark
Melissa McNeil
Joan Sulzmann
Lillian Zaworski

Wanda Averitt
Administrative Assistant

 
 


 
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