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Despite uncertain future, A Woman’s Place still aiding victims

The coalition that distributes federal and state funding is seeking to contract with a different provider next year.

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The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence said recently its contract with A Woman’s Place will end Dec. 31.

However, funding to continue the vital nonprofit’s services will continue through the transition to a new provider, said Lauren Duff, a spokeswoman for PCADV, in an email.

Based in Doylestown, A Woman’s Place has served as Bucks County’s primary domestic violence education and victim services provider since its founding in 1976. Last year, state records show the nonprofit helped more than 2,200 county residents.

“AWP has a recurrent and recent history of being placed on provisional status for non-compliance,” said Duff. “They are currently operating without an Executive Director. Inconsistent compliance and a lack of leadership can compromise survivor safety and create an unstable work environment. It is PCADV’s obligation to ensure continuous services for survivors and to act before situation become untenable.”

Over the past 11 years, AWP has had three executive directors. The most recent — Marianne Lynch — was hired in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. She left in September after three and a half years.

In mid-November, five AWP board members abruptly resigned, leaving the current board with four members.

However, Duff stressed, “We do not want to cause any concerns among survivors currently accessing services from AWP or discourage survivors in Bucks County from seeking help. AWP’s staff has and continues to faithfully provide services to survivors, and they should continue contacting AWP for services during this time. Survivors can continue to use AWP’s hotline to access services in Bucks County.”

Abby Leafe, AWP’s acting board president, emphasized the agency’s services “are continuing uninterrupted and the shelter is operating as normal,” including its hotline.

PCADV contracts with providers across the state and requires they “meet and comply with service standards defined by PCADV and approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services. If and when a program is out of compliance with the defined standards, PCADV reserves the right to issue a RFP to seek a new provider,” said Duff.

Each provider operates independently with its own board of directors, which provides oversight of the governance and finances of the nonprofit agency.

The deadline to submit an RFP is Dec. 22, 2023. Applicants must be able to provide appropriate services, including a 24-hour hotline, crisis intervention, safety planning, emergency shelter, advocacy, trauma-informed counseling and relocation transportation, according to PCADV.

Asked if A Woman’s Place is considering offering its own RFP, Leafe said, “everyone is working together to determine the next course of action.”


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