Friends of the Family is dedicated to providing compassionate, comprehensive services to those impacted by rape, sexual abuse, and domestic violence, while partnering with our community to promote safety, healing, and prevention.
Our Guiding Philosophies:
• All persons have the right to live without fear, abuse, or oppression
• Working together, shelters, affiliated programs, and concerned individuals can change social attitudes about, and the response to, relationship violence and sexual assault
• Abusive individuals must legally and morally be held accountable for their actions
• Belief in the empowerment of all people and promotion of respect for one's self and others.
Denton County Friends of the Family is a grassroots organization that was founded in 1980 and began with a staff of two, 32 volunteers, a 900 square foot shelter, and $10,000 in funding. In thirty years the agency has grown to a staff of 50, hundreds of active volunteers, a 4,400 square foot shelter, and over 1.5 million dollars in funding. Denton County Friends of the Family is dedicated to providing compassionate, comprehensive services to those impacted by rape, sexual abuse, and domestic violence, while partnering with the community to promote saftey, healing, and prevention.
Dr. Fran Danis is Denton County Friends of the Family’s founding Executive Director. Dr. Danis received her Masters in Social Work in 1976 from Stony Brook University in New York and immediately migrated to Texas to see just how difficult it would be for a New Yorker to survive in Texas. The first thing she did was tried to lose her New York accent, but if you listen to her, you will notice she wasn’t 100% successful. While at Friends of the Family she also served 6 years on the board of the Texas Council on Family Violence, including 5 years as the chair. After leaving Friends of the Family in late 1984, she moved to Austin where she had some fun lobbying the Texas Legislature on social work related issues. Because of her expertise and ability to tell stories, she was recruited to teach a social work policy course at the University of Texas at Austin. She stayed there for 10 years, teaching as a lecturer and becoming Associate Director of the Center for Social Work Research. In 1997, she decided she couldn’t keep impersonating a researcher, so she went back to school to earn her PhD from Case Western Reserve University. After earning her doctorate in 2000, she taught at the University of Missouri, then at the University of Texas at Arlington where she served as Associate Dean for 3 years, and she is now teaching at the College of Staten Island – part of the City University of New York. With her researcher hat on, she has studied the resiliency of abuse survivors and their adult daughters, the self-efficacy of service providers to maintain competent services to domestic violence survivors and other crime victims, collegiate sororities and relationship violence, services to sexual assault survivors, coordinated community responses to crime victims, and effective and culturally sensitive services. She has more than the required number of publications to earn tenure at a Research One University and a couple of books including Domestic Violence: Intersectionality and Culturally Competent Practice (2010 – Columbia university press). She also has tons of memberships on this board or another and based on her experience at Friends of the Family, she still likes starting things up that gain a life of their own.
Throughout the years, the agency has remained true to its purpose and mission and operates a variety of programs and services to meet the needs of those seeking assistance. The agency serves over 7,000 individuals a year through the following programs: 24-hour crisis line, 32-bed protective residential shelter, adult counseling program, child and adolescent program, structured community education, violence intervention and prevention, outreach advocacy, legal advocacy and accompaniment, thrift store, hospital accompaniment and involvement in the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program. Several thousand children are educated each year through our community education programs.
Today, DCFOF is the sole provider in Denton County of shelter and free outreach services to those who have been affected by relationship violence and/or sexual assault. DCFOF receives funding from federal, state and local government agencies, the United Ways of Denton County and Lewisville, corporations, foundations, groups, and individuals. The agency looks forward to carefully designed expansion of existing programs and new initiatives to increase awareness of DCFOF services and to help end the generational cycle of violence.