Incorporated in 1981, Family Rescue has been a leader in the field by consistently providing progressive services to survivors of domestic violence for over thirty years.
Family Rescue opened the second shelter specifically for domestic violence survivors in Chicago in 1982 called the Rosenthal Family Lodge; the Community Outreach Program began in 1990 in response to the need for counseling outside of shelter and the need for community education and prevention about domestic violence issues; Ridgeland Apartments and Children’s Program opened in 1991 as the first program of its kind in the nation to provide supportive housing specifically designed for survivors of domestic violence; and we are the only domestic violence agency in the city with a consistent presence in a Chicago Police District, civil court, and both misdemeanor and felony courts through our Legal Advocacy Program. Family Rescue has been providing legal advocacy services since opening our doors; however it opened as an independent program in 2000.
Family Rescue currently serves survivors throughout the Chicago metropolitan area via these four core programs with a multiplicity of services and linkages. Because we believe a woman is her own best advocate, Family Rescue has responded to requests from clients and community members alike to provide the services they need. When the South Chicago neighborhood was experiencing economic hardship and flux, we were welcomed in to open our shelter, and we responded with a full-service facility for those in need. When the Chicago Police Department sent out an urgent plea for help in reaching victims of domestic violence, we responded by opening our Domestic Violence Reduction Unit in Chicago’s 3rd District Police Station to respond to 911 calls alongside trained police officers. When clients at our emergency shelter said they needed more long-term support to get on their feet after being homeless due to domestic violence, we responded by opening Ridgeland Apartments and Children’s Program to provide a two-year supportive living facility complete with support services and on-site after school program.
Family Rescue has consistently been recognized on many levels for its accomplishments in the field of domestic violence: in 2014 Executive Director Joyce M. Coffee received the Advocate of the Year Award from Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez; 2012 the Center for Advancing Domestic Peace honored Family Rescue with their Community Partner Award; in 2009, Family Rescue’s Legal Advocacy Program was honored with the “Exceptional Service Award” from the Clerk of the Circuit Court’s Office for its work to improve the legal system; in 2007, Khauna Snyder, a Family Rescue Legal Advocate, also received the “Exceptional Service Award” from the Clerk of the Circuit Court’s Office for her work to improve the legal system; in 2005, the Chicago Community Trust honored Family Rescue with the prestigious James Brown IV Award for its exemplary dedication, creativity and outstanding community service; also in 2005, Family Rescue’s Legal Advocacy Program was honored with the Victim Service Award from the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office for outstanding service, and they named the program’s director, Jennifer Greene advocate of the year; in 2000, Family Rescue received the ORBA award for excellence in financial management from the Nonprofit Financial Center, and in 1995, Joyce Coffee, our Executive Director of 33 years, was awarded the National Victim Advocate Award from President Bill Clinton, underscoring the important work of the agency.