Posted on March 20, 2018

March is National Women's History Month and we are honoring women who are making an impact for victims of sexual and domestic violence. We are honoring women who fight against all forms of discrimination against women by sharing #HerStory. We will share how each of these women pictured, and so many more, have made an impact for victims of sexual and domestic violence throughout the month of March. 

We've highlighted our founder and first Executive Director who was recently awarded the NASW pioneer award. Our Director of Advocacy who's passion and purpose is found as she thinks back to her mother and grandmother's story of abuse and assault. We are talking to volunteers, advocates, staff and impact makers who are all taking a stand for victims. 

We invite you to join us as we celebrate women locally and across the globe making history by sharing #HerStory.  

Check out each woman's story of impact at dcfof.org/herstory. 

Read #HerStory 

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Shelter Partnerships

Posted on March 14, 2018

Our experts do a lot to provide the safety and support that our clients seeking shelter need. From a roof over their heads, to food on the table, to a shoulder to lean on, clients who stay in our shelter know that they are cared for and supported through thick and thin. But the truth is- we wouldn't be able to do any of that without the support and strength of our community behind us.

"Community partnerships help us provide holistic services to our clients that address each individual and family’s unique needs," says Taylor Cameron, Director of Residential and Crisis Services. "Currently at shelter we are so grateful to have a variety of other agencies provide their services on site, so that it is more accessible for our residents."

For example, Goodwill Job Resource Center sends their staff to our shelter to assist clients with resume building, job searches, applications, interview skills, transportation, and job skills. This assistance empowers our clients in long lasting and meaningful ways by building their confidence and assisting with self-sufficiency. Another impactful partnership is with our local Texas Health and Human Service Commission office, who provides staff to assist residents with Medicaid, SNAP, and TANF. They help clients with applications, renewals, and problem solving regarding their accounts. This services provides our clients with resources to help meet their immediate needs. In addition, Denton County Transportation Authority staff provides residents with training regarding how to access the local bus and train system. Understanding the local transportation system provides our residents with empowerment and independence.

These partnerships help us meet our goal to support our clients on their journey towards healing. From donating items, to volunteering their time, our community partners enable us to turn every shelter client into a success story. THANK YOU!

Get Involved

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Welcome Dr. Powell!

Posted on March 8, 2018

Welcome Dr. Powell! 


Please join us in welcoming our new Adult Counselor and Sexual Assault Advocacy Team Coordinator Kim Powell, PhD, LPC-S. Dr. Powell has extensive experience serving the community in her role as a counselor. She has been counseling for over 20 years, working as a campus counselor for 15 years and as an intervention counselor in the school setting for 4 years. In addition to school counseling, she worked at a residential treatment center that served clients with chemical and behavioral addictions both during and after her doctoral internship.  

Dr. Powell's credential's include: a bachelor’s degree in education, a master’s degree in educational leadership, master’s level graduate work in counseling and development and women’s studies, certifications as a teacher and school counselor, a PhD in family therapy, and she is a Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor.  I think we can all agree she is impressive- her credentials needed their own paragraph! 


Dr. Kim Powell has taken charge of our Survivor Advocacy Team (SAT) since her arrival at DCFOF. SAT is a mixed group of dedicated community volunteers, interns, and staff who are committed to providing support and resources to victims of sexual assault and relationship violence when they need it most. SAT members accompany victims at the hospital, providing information, clothing, and a teddy bear for comfort. SAT members may also accompany the victim to the police station or court if requested. At the time of crisis you are the single person that does not want or need anything from the victim. You are simply there as a resource and for support. This volunteer role is so important, and due to the nature of what SAT members encounter, there is an additional 30 hour training required.  

But in the end, as it is with all of our staff, Kim's motivation is all about the people we serve. 

"I counseled in private practice for about a year, but discovered that I preferred to work in a setting with other professionals with a common mission" says Dr. Powell. "I have made Denton my home for more than 25 years. I am looking forward to and am honored to serve my community, especially women and children affected by intimate partner violence, by being part of the mission of Denton County Friends of the family. I am passionate about serving women and helping them to own their voices and create their best lives." 

Learn more about SAT

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February Board Orientation Happenings

Posted on March 1, 2018

Our Board Rocks!

We are so excited to have such a passionate crew investing in safety, hope, healing, justice, and prevention. Last night was our first Board Orientation for 2018. In order to stay in line with Texas Health and Human Services training requirements all new board members go through a thorough orientation. In addition, all current board members receive a refresher every 2 years. With an almost $5 million budget and thousands of women and children throughout our community receiving services every year it's crucial for our board to be up to date and educated. Last night we did just that! 

We kicked off the training our agency history, a financial snapshot and organizational structure. Over the past 38 years Denton County Friends of the Family has grown to a staff of over 65, hundreds of active volunteers, a 4,400 square foot shelter, an Outreach Office providing direct client services through legal advocacy, counseling and play therapy, 2 thrift stores, a Denton satellite office with our Transitional Housing Program, and The Prevention Center housing our Battering, Intervention, and Prevention Program as well as our Prevention, Education, and Awareness Program. Our leadership team rocks and has help our agency increase overall capacity so we can continue fulfilling the growing need for services for victims of sexual and domestic violence across Denton County. As the sole provide of comprehensive services for victims it is critical that we can grow as our populations grow. We are grateful for the ongoing support of numerous community partners, YOU make the difference. 

Check out a few takeaways and highlights from Board Orientation: 

  • Reviewing the Power and Control Wheel  which helps understand the type of tactics seen in an abusive relationship and dynamics of domestic violence 
  • The Hope & Healing Children's wing at out Outreach Office (coming soon!) enabling the Children's Program to have 2 additional play therapy rooms
  • The success of our Transitional Housing Program helping 4 women since it's launch on January 16th, 2018 
  • The safety and hope that echoed through the numerous client stories our Directors shared as they talked about each of their program areas 

Our personal favorite is an activity facilitated by our Prevention, Education, and Awareness Director, Hillarye Hightower. In Her Shoes is an interactive scenario based education tool. It highlights, through story telling, what a victim goes through as they are experiencing abuse from their partner, caring for their children and balancing the challenges that arrive in everyday life including financial barriers or a car breaking down. Our board members participated by moving to different living options, thinking about life as a victim and making choices based upon what they think she would do. This interactive scenario helps provide insight into the choices, challenges, barriers, fear, frustration and overall chaos that our client's face on a daily basis. 

Thank you to each and every board member that attended Board Orientation and invested in safety, hope, healing, justice, and prevention for victims of sexual and domestic violence. 1 in 4 women are victims of violence and it takes a community to truly make an impact. THANK YOU!

If you would like to learn more about our education programs, volunteering or serving on our board. Let us know! We would love to get connected with you. 

Get Connected 

Need Help? Call our 24-Hour Crisis Line for anonymous information and advice: 940-382-7273 or 800-572-4031

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My Community Education Ah-Ha Moment!

Posted on February 23, 2018

Guest Blog From Our Director of Marketing & Development, Randi Skinner. 

I am a childhood victim of domestic violence. Healing from the wounds inflicted on me as a child is a process. Volunteering and ultimately working for a sexual and domestic violence agency has provided a pretty cool platform for what I like to call “ah-ha moments”. I wanted to take a minute and provide a little insight into the impact Friends of the Family has for victims by sharing a piece of my own journey to a thriving adult survivor. 

I first started volunteering with Denton County Friends of the Family in 2006 as a student at the University of North Texas (Go Mean Green!). I was a volunteer with the Education, Awareness and Prevention department. The community education team provides curriculum based, age appropriate, education programs for grades K-12 in every school district in the County. Our Education, Awareness and Prevention team also educates businesses, universities and organizations throughout Denton County. In fact, in 2017 alone this crew educated 28,956 community members. Wow! Right? So, as you can imagine as a college student I was thrilled to have the opportunity to work with a team doing pretty big things by bringing awareness across the County and ultimately helping victims have a voice.

When I first started volunteering with Friends of the Family I helped provide educational programs for middle school and high school age kids. I can recall feeling overjoyed, empowered and validated as an adult who is a childhood survivor of domestic violence. I remember thinking “I wish I had learned this or someone had explained this concept of domestic violence and unhealthy relationships to me when I was in middle school”. Having a better understanding of power and control, healthy boundaries, what a healthy relationship really looks like, what abuse is, the different types of abuse and everything else the curriculum covers would have been extremely valuable to me as a child who was experiencing abuse.

This type of information would have helped me process my experiences and identify that what had felt “normal” my entire life was in fact not normal. It had a name- it was abuse. 

The volunteer work with the Education, Awareness and Prevention team at Friends of the Family lit my passion for education and prevention work. It allowed me to see first-hand how education programs, like those Friends of the Family provides, truly are the key to prevention and awareness efforts. So much may seem “normal” as a child or teen, especially when it’s your parents or loved ones who are hurting you. You don’t know that it should look different because the abuse is “your normal”. Learning the curriculum and then sharing it with teens was an AMAZING part of my healing and for that I am grateful. 

So, now as the Director of Marketing & Development at Friends of the Family I get to help ensure our community knows about all the resources our team at Friends of the Family provides for victims of sexual and domestic violence. The efforts of our Education, Awareness and Prevention team are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all of the big things happening for survivors/victims. 

I invite you to be a part of standing for the 1 in 4 women who are victims of domestic violence and the 1 in 3 adolescents who experience violence from a dating partner. YOU are what makes the difference. 

If you would like to learn more about our agency or how to get involved reach out and get connected!

Need Help? Call our 24-Hour Crisis Line for anonymous information and advice: 940-382-7273 or 800-572-4031

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Transitional Housing

Posted on February 16, 2018

We've got big news- DCFOF now has a Transitional Housing program! 

We are best known as the emergency shelter in the area, but for years now our agency has been building our capacity in order to provide transitional housing. When you think about everything that goes into a survivor of domestic violence thriving on their own- enough money saved for a deposit on a house or apartment, a stable job earning enough to make ends meet, transportation to get herself and her kids to/from work and school, and a support system to help her through it- 30 days in emergency shelter is just not enough. 

That is where our new program comes in! We know that for many survivors of family violence, for their life apart from their abuser to be sustainable they need more time to build a foundation. After exiting our emergency shelter, clients can now move in to their very own apartment thanks to our Transitional Housing program! We are able to help victims of sexual and domestic violence secure safe housing options as they transition out of the emergency shelter, flee from an abusive home or are recovering from the financial abuse that 98% of victims of domestic violence experience. The transitional housing program provides safe housing combined with comprehensive services to assist victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in their path to independence and emotional well-being. 

The launch of our transitional housing program will meet a critical need for domestic violence and sexual assault victims as they struggle to achieve financial stability. The program is funded by awards from the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) and the Criminal Justice Division Grant (CJD). ESG offers short term housing assistance for those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. CJD offers financial assistance for 6-18 months and additional services such as counseling, life skills, budgeting, and employment. 

Our First Client 

Dr. Nicole Roberts Ph.D, DCFOF, Executive Program Director announced last week that "we placed our first transitional housing client into a safe and comfortable home. She is a single mom with small children so the needs for her move in were significant".  

Included in the vision of this program is that the homes are furnished, decorated and stocked with essentials as families move in. DCFOF Executive Director, Toni Johnson-Simpson, had this to say about the vision: " families should be able to maintain their dignity even in their most desperate of times". In an effort to achieve this objective DCFOF has partnered with Latter House Décor. 

Shalonda Waggoner is the President and Founder of LatterHouse Décor and a survivor of domestic violence. Shalonda works to help clients access “a beautiful beginning to their best life”. The mission of LatterHouse Decor is to provide no cost interior decorating services to women and families who have been hurt due to domestic violence. The LatterHouse crew helped DCFOF furnish and decorate our client’s home with donated items. 

It took an enormous amount of teamwork to make all the details come together and make this house a home for our client. We are grateful for the community partners that made this happen. 

How Can You Help? 

Become a Housing Partner! The support of donors and volunteers are the difference in a child sleeping on an air mattress or in a toddler bed. You are the sofas, dishes and groceries that make the families we serve find hope again. Without your support we could not aide in the positive change in the lives of the women and children we serve. 

If you would like to learn more about how to support the efforts of our transitional housing program with time, talent or treasure and become a Housing Partner email donate@dcfof.org. 

Thank you for investing in safety, hope, healing, justice, and prevention for victims of sexual and domestic violence in our community. 

Check out our first client's gorgeous home! 

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Typical warning signs of abuse

1 in 4 women will experience intimate partner violence

591 clients were served through legal services in 2017