Seal of Dane County County of Dane
Dane County Department of Human Services

Joining Forces for Families (JFF)

Opening doors to community potential across Dane County…


JFF Origins

In 1993 Joining Forces for Families (JFF) opened their doors for the first time in 2 communities, Broadway-Simpson and Vera Court.  The charge was simple, create an easily accessible community office located in a neighborhood close to people needing better access to support.  From these embedded offices, JFF social workers maintained an open door to provide voluntary services informed by the people who know best, community members themselves. 

From this starting point, JFF has evolved into a broader community focused initiative that engages local partners to create decentralized, collaborative, and community-informed service platforms.  At the heart of this initiative, fifteen community social workers are situated in neighborhoods throughout Dane County.  Each social worker manages at least one JFF office that is uniquely responsive to its neighborhood context, allowing direct access to services in the community. 

In conducting this work, JFF has three primary areas of focus:

  • Individual/Family:  Working directly with families to offer support or make connections to resources
  • Community:  Collaborating with area partners to build capacity around issues important to people living in the community.
  • System/Organizational:   Helping network area agencies, non-profits, faith-based organizations, and others to better connect families to available resources and opportunities.  Whenever possible, we encourage collaboration across agencies to improve services and support available to families.

JFF Team Networks

By tapping into the unique talents and resources present in any neighborhood, JFF has been able to form local team networks who come together in responding to community needs and opportunities in real time.  In various capacities, these groups are working together to ensure the success of children, youth, and families in their schools, homes, and community by working toward:

  • Changing the way community-based services are delivered so they are accessible, integrated, customer-focused, and address local needs;
  • Increasing efforts to intervene earlier and prevent problems before they occur;
  • Building collaborative team networks with area partners to help connect families to supports available locally;
  • Developing a locally informed understanding of both common service gaps experienced by families, as well as, opportunities to meet these challenges;
  • Encouraging community members to come together to talk about what matters to them and to build off of the strengths and capacities of local people in addressing challenges.

What can I expect from JFF?

Each JFF site has one community social worker that:

  • Is familiar with resources available in your community
  • Works to build connections to other local services, agencies, and people
  • Is available to speak with you directly

These local connections and knowledge allow JFF workers to offer direct and task-centered, client-driven assistance that includes:

  • An open door and accessible person to hear directly from you
  • Advocacy services, resource referral, and problem solving assistance
  • Clear information on housing resources available and how to access them
  • Support in accessing and navigating government nd non-profit programs
  • Connection to neighborhood-specific services, resources, and opportunities

Reasons to connect with your area JFF may include:

  • I need help and I’m not sure where to start
  • I need help understanding what supportive services are available in my community
  • I need to find out what housing supports are out there and how to access them
  • I need to identify what mental health services, employment services, early childhood support, domestic violence services, or other resources are out there and how to access them
  • I work in the community and I am hoping to connect with other individuals and agencies that operate locally
  • I am hoping to connect a family with support from JFF
  • I live in the neighborhood and want to know what community efforts are happening

Find A JFF Office

Click on a pin within the map to display the address, contact information, and driving directions to a JFF office.

JFF Contacts

Michael Bruce

JFF Supervisor

Dane County Department of Human Services

Prevention and Early Intervention Division

818 W. Badger Road

Madison, WI  53713

Phone: (608) 335-7817


Ron Chance

Community Programs Manager

Dane County Department of Human Services

Prevention and Early Intervention Division

1202 Northport Drive

Madison, WI 53704

Phone: (608) 242-6325



David Marshall

Community Programs Coordinator

Dane County Department of Human Services

Prevention and Early Intervention Division

1202 Northport Drive

Madison, WI 53704

Phone: (608) 630-1238