The Domestic Violence Co-Location Project (DVCLP)

Launched on October 30, 2019, the Domestic Violence Co-Location Program (DVCLP) is an innovative and collaborative program aimed at meeting the needs of families experiencing both domestic violence and the child welfare system.

Focusing on improving the effectiveness of Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) interventions into the lives of families experiencing domestic violence and supported by local and statewide partners and stakeholders, the DVCLP places domestic violence advocates in DCFS offices to work with child welfare workers and to support families experiencing domestic violence.

The role of the Domestic Violence Co-Located Advocate (DVCLA) is to help build the systemic capacity of child welfare investigative, intact, and permanency workers from DCFS and private agencies to more effectively respond to families experiencing domestic violence. The DVCLA also supports families during child welfare interventions, models and fosters meaningful engagement with the person using violence and coercive control in order to promote sustainable accountability, and facilitates linkages to domestic violence and community-based services. The DVCLP is grounded in the Adult and Child Survivor Centered Approach.

Currently in four locations in Illinois, the vision for the DVCLP is to expand into a statewide program in which each DCFS office in Illinois is partnered with the local domestic violence agency that employs and provides a DVCLA. Following a federal grant and significant investment from private philanthropy, the DVCLP is now funded by public dollars through the Illinois Department of Human Services.

The DVCLP aligns with Ascend Justice’s missions of improving systems for families in ways that are trauma-informed, strength-based, family-centered, and equity-focused in order to reduce harm, transform responses, and facilitate healing.


Read the 2022 Data Report here.

“The DVCLP is an important part of history that sheds light on the importance of bringing victims / survivors of domestic violence to the table. Acknowledging their thoughts and feelings allows them to be heard. I believe that the DVCLP will have a positive impact for many families. I know it did for me, especially in a time where I had lost all faith in the child welfare system.

I’m excited for the future of this project as it gives me hope that it will help bring healing and resilience to families experiencing domestic violence.”

Selena Hernandez
Parent Advocate/ DV Survivor

  • Domestic Violence Co-Located Advocates (DVCLAs) report positive experiences working with caseworkers and families to provide domestic violence education, connection to services, and engaging in institutional advocacy to improve outcomes for survivors.
  • In 2022, the DVCLP doubled in size, expanding from two Department of Children and Family Services offices to four, resulting in a 4% increase in total clients served compared to 2021.
  • African American families were overrepresented among DVCLP participants when compared to local demographic information. This aligns with existing research that African American families are disproportionately impacted by the child welfare system in Illinois.
  • The DVCLAs had direct contact with one or more members of the impacted family in 71% (544) of cases. Specifically, DVCLAs had direct contact with 527 adult survivors, 282 child survivors, and 93 persons using violence and coercive control (PUVCCs.)
  • 72% of families whose race was known by DVCLAs had children of color.
  • In 40% (466) of cases, DVCLAs reported knowing that the children remained with their adult survivor parent.
  • Overall, 85% of the caseworkers partnered with the adult survivor in crafting interventions that buffer risk and enhance their strengths.
  • The DVCLAs worked with teams across the child welfare system, receiving 92% of referrals from DCFS (70% from Investigations, 17% from Intact Services, and 13% from Placement Services teams) and 8% from private, purchase of service (POS) agencies.
  • Across 90% of consultations, DVCLAs reported confidence that the DCFS caseworker had received information about domestic violence dynamics.

In 2022, the DVCLP served:

Thank you to all those who help make the DVCLP a reality!

DVCLP's Management Entity and Partner Domestic Violence Agencies

Continued Partnership

Prior Funders

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if you are in immediate danger


24/7 Illinois Domestic Violence Hotline


(877) 863-6338

Orders of Protection

Ascend Justice Remote OP Hotline:
Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 5 pm