|Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development News Release|
Wednesday, May 12, 2004
News Media Contact
Madison – Governor Jim Doyle today announced an additional funding of $115,445 to the Wausau Area Hmong Mutual Assistance Association to address family violence arising from cultural adjustment issues faced by refugee families as they assimilate into new communities within Wisconsin.
"Programs such as the Refugee Family Strengthening Project prevent violence in homes and allow for children to grow up safe, secure and more successful," Governor Doyle said.
The Refugee Family Strengthening (RFS) Project provides funding to several community-based organizations to supply bilingual staff in local agencies that help family members address violence issues. Immigrant family members who are isolated by language and culture rarely ask for assistance when there is no bilingual staff available. The RFS project employs bilingual, bicultural individuals who help provide prevention, education and intervention services for domestic violence to refugee women with domestic abuse issues. Annually, the project serves 750 to 800 refugee families already living in Wisconsin.
The increase in funding allows the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) to continue contracts with several community-based organizations in areas where immigrant families have settled. This increase in funding was necessary because the US Department of Health and Human Services reduced funding, although the need for services remains.
"We are delighted that the Joint Finance Committee, with the leadership of Senator Gwen Moore, Representative Dean Kaufert and Senator Russ Decker, found resources to enter into and continue these important contracts. All family members are entitled to a safe and secure home, and when assistance is needed to ensure that safety and security, we work with local agencies to meet that need," Secretary Gassman said.
Gassman also released new data regarding the expected growth of the Hmong refugee population in Wisconsin over the next six months. Based on new information from state refugee placement agencies, approximately 3,000 Hmong refugees are now expected to come to Wisconsin. This will include 448 people in the Wausau area and approximately 165 people in the Stevens Point, Wisconsin Rapids and Plover areas. DWD coordinates Wisconsin’s public/private services to refugees and will be establishing employment and training, mental health and family support services for these new refugees.