Sioux Center’s Family Crisis Center 40 years later

Abby Starkenburg – Staff Writer

Since 1982, people in Sioux County have been looking out for one another and seeing areas in which the community needs support. A program started 40 years ago, called the Domestic Violence Aid Center, began with a group of citizens who recognized just how pressing of an issue domestic violence is. It grew to serving four counties; now, that program is known as the Family Crisis Center and has grown to serve 17 Northern Iowa counties.

The main emphasis of FCC is offering client-centered practices, aiming to do whatever possible to help those they’re serving.

The FCC connects people with needed resources, gives emotional support, and advocates for their client’s rights. Some of the specific areas they help with are support for homelessness, advocacy within court systems and healthcare, support for victims of crime, and 24/7 listening and resource connection from the hotline.

The FCC’s many programs include: the Iowa Victim Services Call Center, WISH unit, and Integrated Advocacy Services. The call center talks with victims of crime, with the WISH Unit providing support specific to homicide and other violent crimes. The newest program added, Integrated Advocacy Services, helps advocate on behalf of and support clients within the healthcare realm. The FCC also partners with Safe Place, a domestic violence shelter based out of Sioux City.

Melissa’s Hope Chest, a thrift store that helps victims of domestic violence, donates its profits to the FCC to keep them running. Melissa’s Hope Chest is a donation-run organization.

As a non-profit, there are many volunteer opportunities available through FCC. Some of the roles of volunteers according to the FCC website include, “Helping with special events & fundraising, office duties and administrative tasks, building maintenance, cleaning and organizing, Melissa’s Hope Chest work, Mentoring, Childcare, and Language Services.” More information on how to become a volunteer for FCC can be found on their website.

What started off for Bri Haeder, a junior studying psychology and social work, as a volunteer position for her social work class has become much more. She volunteered for approximately a semester, and last February accepted a job offer to work in the Iowa Victim Services Call Center.

Her volunteer work consisted mainly of sorting files within the center. Now, she works directly with clients by taking their calls and connecting them to resources.

“When someone calls the [State] Crisis line, they get me,” Haeder said.

The topics of the calls she receives can vary greatly from things including domestic violence, homelessness, or sexual assault.

“My main job is to connect them with resources,” Haeder said. These resources can be directly from FCC or from somewhere outside of the organization.

“You do the best you can for them and you give them everything that you can,” Haeder said. “I do really enjoy it, I love my job, I do, and I don’t think a lot of people get to say that.”

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