About Us


Each year, hundreds of persons contribute their time, talent, and other resources to the Dane County Department of Human Services. There are coaches and chaperones who help make the award winning Spartan basketball teams great; church groups whose members lovingly sew quilts for children in foster homes; artists who work with residents of the Badger Prairie Health Care Center on projects large and small; business owners who contribute food and drinks for a host of events; and persons with a spare appliance, bed, or clothing that is donated for a family in need. The Department also relies on the work and wisdom of persons who serve on the numerous committees, boards, and commissions that oversee our work.

Dane Need

Dane Need is a collaboration between the Dane County Department of Human Services and the United Way of Dane County that connects traditional and non-traditional service providers and persons needing services with one another. Persons with items in good condition, such as furniture, appliances, baby formula, pots and pans, etc. to contribute are linked with non-profit organizations serving persons that may have a need.

To Donate

To list an item with Dane Need, contact the United Way of Dane County at 2-1-1. Important details include: who, what, where, when, why, how, and contact information.

DCDHSEmergency Fund

Financial contributions may be made to the Dane County Department of Human Services Emergency Fund. 100% of the dollars contributed are passed directly to consumers or programs.

Use of Funds

Children’s Fund
Dollars in the Children’s Fund are used to cover emergency expenses for consumers that may not be covered through other means. This may mean assistance with housing, food, utilities, vehicle repairs, etc. that are geared to maintaining children in their own home whenever possible and to helping families achieve reunification. Expenditures are requested by Department social workers and approved by the Children, Youth, and Families Division Manager.
Individual Expenditure Accounts
Dollars in this area are earmarked for particular expenditures by the donor. This is typically done in response to a solicitation by a Joining Forces for Families social worker who determines the need and seeks donations to fill that need. This may include help for a particular family or individual or assistance with a neighborhood event or program.

To Donate

To make a monetary donation, contact a Department social worker or the Emergency Donations Account Coordinator at (608) 242-6313.

Volunteer Opportunities

Badger Prairie Health Care Center

Badger Prairie Health Care Center offers rewarding volunteer opportunities. Volunteers of all ages help residents maintain an essential link to the community. Volunteers may work one-on-one with a resident, assist with or conduct groups, or share skills they may have. Badger Prairie Health Care Center staff will provide orientation and supervision to assist volunteers.

If you would like to volunteer, please call (608) 845-6601 and ask for the Volunteer Coordinator.

Boards, Committees and Commissions

Members of Boards, Committees, and Commissions are typically appointed by the County Executive.

Neighborhood Intervention Program

The Neighborhood Intervention Program offers a number of volunteer opportunities. Coaches and assistants are regularly recruited for the Madison Spartans Youth Basketball team. Coaches and assistants must undergo a background check.

Madison Spartans Youth Basketball is an award-winning boys and girls basketball program. The program is known for outstanding teams that possess speed; athleticism; character; and aggressive, in-your-face, man to man defense. The Madison Spartans Basketball program was founded in 1988. The objective for the development of the basketball program was to give at risk, low-income youth exposure and opportunities to organized tournament basketball play. The program hopes to teach life choice skills, honor, and integrity through the use of basketball. In keeping with this philosophy, Spartan coaches keep in mind that they are teachers and role models first, basketball coaches second.

The National Summer Basketball Teams seek donations for out of state opportunities and travel.

To make a donation or to volunteer, contact Madison Spartans Basketball at: (608) 273-6685.

Teen Life Skills Program - Mentors

Teenagers in foster care often need a caring mentor/friend to help them make the transition from foster care to independent living. Mentors work with an assigned teenager to assess their skills and follow a program designed to help each teen prepare for independence. Mentors help with such skills as money management, the search for housing and employment, shopping for groceries and household items, and obtaining community services.

Mentors are asked to communicate regularly with their assigned teens either in person or via telephone calls. Mentors may also participate in or help facilitate independent living group meetings with teenagers in foster care. A one year commitment is requested.

For more information about becoming a Mentor, please contact Mary Beth Wilk, at (608) 242-6329, or at wilk@countyofdane.com.

Tax Deduction

Donors should check with their tax advisor regarding a deduction. Dane County is a governmental entity.