WOCN,Inc. has worked in partnership with the Alliance of Local Service Organizations (ALSO) and the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) over the past several years to assist STOP Administrators in better identifying and reaching underserved populations. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) has mandated since 2005 that STOP Administrators include members of underserved populations in your state planning process, and that funding for organizations whose mission and purpose is to reach these communities is prioritized. WOCN was asked in 2009 to write an article for the STOP Administrators Corner periodical to provide clarity about including underserved populations in STOP planning.
In the article “Including Underserved, Un-Served and Inadequately Served Populations in the STOP Planning Process,” WOCN took the general term “underserved populations” and expanded it to three categories:
- Un-Served Populations: This category is designated for those populations who are so marginalized that they are not reached at all. This is also indicative of those populations who are emerging and who are not yet visible in our services or who are there in very small numbers.
- Underserved Populations: Populations in this category are those who are growing in number in our services and have minimal access but who need more services and approaches that meet their specific needs: therefore they remain ‘under’-served.
- Inadequately Served Populations: This category speaks to those historically marginalized communities who may be highly visible or even overrepresented in number, but who are still in need of improved quality of services that will help address cyclical challenges their populations face such as “one-size fits all” strategies that disregard historical barriers and culturally-specific experiences. Also, the fact that specific populations are “overrepresented” in services demonstrates a need for enhanced support to these communities.
WOCN was given the opportunity to then speak to STOP Administrators at a 2010 STOP Administrators Annual Meeting to further discuss and share this expanded approach to underserved populations initially explored in the 2009 article. Later that year, OVW funded WOCN to develop specialized programming and tools for STOP Administrators to assist in improving and enhancing your outreach to underserved populations. WOCN took the expanded approach shared in the 2009 article and coined it “The 3-Tier System” which has become the driving force behind WOCN’s TA to STOP Administrators. It has been lauded by the majority of STOP Administrators who have attended WOCN Action Meetings or who have invited WOCN to conduct onsite trainings within states and territories as an extremely useful system that has honed and enhanced the ongoing quest to better reach marginalized communities.
This Toolkit is the culmination of STOP Administrator data collection, Action Meetings, and Site Visits led by WOCN staff and Senior WOCN Consultants Aleese Moore-Orbih and Purvi Shah as well as STOP TA Consultants Zoe Flowers and Smita Satiani. We developed this Toolkit to codify learnings and support further STOP Administrator engagement with underserved populations. We are happy to offer this online Toolkit featuring the 3-Tier System with hopes that it will be a helpful vehicle to STOP Administrators and your local programs and grantees!