A High-Speed Future: Evaluating the Wisconsin Broadband Expansion Grant Program

Expanding the coverage and quality of internet services remains an important challenge throughout Wisconsin. The Broadband Expansion Grant Program, managed by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin, aims to assist in the development of internet services in “unserved” and “underserved” areas of the state by awarding grants to fund the building of new broadband infrastructure. This report evaluates the grant program by analyzing feedback from past grant applicants and recipients and by examining program data against American Community Survey data. Several recommendations to increase the equity and effectiveness of the grant program are provided.

Addressing Domestic Abuse in Family Court Cases Involving Guardians ad Litem in Wisconsin

Guardians ad Litem (GALs) are attorneys who play a critical role in the family court system by representing the best interests of children while providing a recommendation for custody and placement. Though GALs are required to investigate for domestic abuse in every case, survivors and advocates sometimes find that a thorough investigation was not completed. Our goal is to investigate the barriers GALs face in implementing best practices concerning domestic abuse. This report analyzes data collected through surveys of stakeholders, as well as 25 interviews conducted in select counties. Our analysis shows that GALs face distinct barriers to their practice and to addressing domestic abuse. These fell under five main categories: payments and payment systems, resources, training, uniformity, and pro se representation (or self-representation). We provide seven prioritized recommendations to address these issues through increased county responsibility and shared services, expanded training opportunities for family court professionals, and greater statewide oversight.

Addressing Energy Poverty in Wisconsin Communities

Focus on Energy is a ratepayer funded government organization that has been providing energy efficiency products and services to Wisconsin residents since 2001. However, low-income Wisconsinites have not benefited from the program as much as higher earning members of the community. As a result of shifting policy priorities, program administrators are beginning to identify obstacles causing this problem and seek out possible solutions. This report for Focus on Energy outlines barriers between low-income communities and the services Focus provides. It also puts forth possible solutions to help the organization better serve low-income residents of Wisconsin.

Secondary Refugee Estimate and Analysis of Refugee Service Needs in Brown County, Wisconsin

This report for the Brown County Refugee Task Force estimates the number of secondary refugees living in Brown County to better determine the total refugee population, which drives federal funding. It also provides the Task Force with an analysis of the service needs of refugees compared to the services provided by Task Force member organizations. Using client survey and focus group results, the report identifies key service needs of the refugee population in Brown County and makes recommendations to the Task Force for filling service gaps.