Walker announces $11 million support for Milwaukee Family Justice Center

Gov. Scott Walker teamed up with Sojourner Family Peace Center and Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin Wednesday to announce a partnership in developing a Family Justice Center site in Milwaukee that will offer comprehensive services to victims of domestic violence.

The 78,000 square-foot-center, to be built at 619 W. Walnut St. in Milwaukee, is slated to break ground in 2014 and be completed by 2015. The center will act as a central site in providing resources and services to support children and families in combating domestic violence. The center will include a shelter, law enforcement services, medical and social services, legal services, mental health services, counseling, faith-based services and sexual assault services.

The Family Justice Center will be one of a kind and will offer a whole package of services to surround victims and families with needed resources, Walker said.

“It addresses some of the most pressing issues we have in this community day in and day out and across the state and really across the country,” he said.

The $21.25 million project will be funded with $11 million from the State Building Commission. Sojourner Family Peace Center will work to raise additional funds from individuals, community foundations and local corporations in the coming months.

“This is a transformational gift for our agency, for our partnership with Children’s and for the families we serve,” said Carmen Pitre, executive director of Sojourner Family Peace Center.

While the Milwaukee center will align with a nationally recognized Family Justice Center model, it will be the first in the country to offer a set of comprehensive services at this magnitude, said Peggy Troy, president and chief executive officer of Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.

The center will take a holistic, collaborative approach in serving victims of domestic violence, Troy said.

“Our goal is to provide a better and safer community for our children and families and that’s what this is really all about,” she said.

Both Walker and the partnering institutions hope Milwaukee’s Family Justice Center will serve as a national model of care for families and children impacted by domestic violence.

“I think we’re going to set the bar very high to make sure that these children and families get the very best care,” Troy said.

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