Editor's note: This is the 14th in a series of stories highlighting the 21 agencies to receive United Way's annual campaign funds. The next article will run in Saturday's edition of The Telegram.



October is Domestic Violence Awareness month.

According to a national survey conducted in March, domestic violence shelters indicated the economic downturn has increased the demand for services.

And Finney County isn't immune, according to Robin Shelden, director of Family Crisis Services.

To promote domestic violence awareness this month, FCS will host the Governor's Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board. The Fatality Review Board is charged with reviewing past domestic violence fatalities in an effort to make recommendations to prevent future fatalities.

The event will be 7 p.m. Thursday at Community Congregation Church, 710 N. Third St. The program is free.

FCS, which provides a domestic violence shelter, will receive $25,812 from the Finney County United Way in 2012. The funds will go toward operational costs for the shelter.

Because of the state of the economy and the increasing need for the shelter, Shelden said she asked for that amount. The amount is the same as the 2011 funds and is $6,000 more than funds received in 2010.

"A lot of it goes to pay for the shelter or safehouse. To pay utilities, supplies, food costs, repairs and basic operating costs," she said.

A portion also will go toward the shelter coordinator salary, she said.

The shelter currently has three adult women and six children staying there. Five women and 10 children have stayed there recently. Eighteen is the maximum capacity, Shelden said.

Shelden has served as director since August 2010, and replaced Lana Christensen, who served the community through the organization for more than two decades. Shelden was hired as an interim director in June before accepting the position.

Shelden previously had served for nearly three years as the business manager at FCS, which has served the community since 1981 through a plethora of crisis services, including a 24-hour hotline.

FCS reaches the seven counties of Finney, Greeley, Hamilton, Kearny, Wichita, Lane and Scott counties, Shelden said.

Shelden said the agency is appreciative of the United Way Dollars.

"The fund are very important. Without them, we would have to find other funds. It's very hard to get funds in today's economy. Everyone is cutting," she said.

FCS provides free and confidential services to survivors of domestic and sexual violence southwest Kansas. Services include a 24-hour crisis hotline and crisis intervention, supportive counseling and support group, personal, medical, court and law enforcement advocacy; a safe house; child advocacy; outreach services; and a bilingual advocate to work with Spanish-speaking survivors. For more information or to become a volunteer, or for those who need assistance escaping abuse, call 275-5911 or (800) 275-0535.

The United Way is in the midst of its 2012 fundraising campaign. The agency has a goal of raising $550,000 to be distributed to its 21 member agencies.

Other agencies that will receive funds include: Finney County RSVP; Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Finney and Kearny Counties; Santa Fe Trail Council Boy Scouts; Smart Start; Playground Program; Kansas Children's Service League; The Salvation Army; Catholic Social Service; Meals on Wheels; Habitat for Humanity; Garden City Family YMCA; Garden City Chapter of the Red Cross; Miles of Smiles; Russell Child Development Center; Southeast Asian Mutual Assistance Association; United Methodist Mexican-American Ministries; United Cerebral Palsy of Kansas; Spirit of the Plains, CASA; Community Day Care; and Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland.

Family Crisis Services

Director: Robin Shelden

Hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday

Address: 106 W. Fulton St.

Phone: 276-3232 (main office), 275-5911 (24-hour hotline)