A Publication of WTVP

40 Leaders Under Forty

Frances Reyes | 36

Director, Domestic Violence Family Centered Services, Center for Prevention of Abuse (CFPA)

Frances Reyes
Frances Reyes

Frances Reyes began her career in social services as a contract worker for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services before joining the Center for Prevention of Abuse in 2010 as a domestic violence counselor. Her leadership qualities and dedication to serving clients helped propel her to supervisor of both CFPA emergency shelters before assuming her current role leading the entire department.

‘With five people physically abused by an intimate partner every 15 seconds in the U.S., Fran works around the clock.’

She handles Spanish translations for multiple departments. She oversees case management and domestic violence counseling for children and adults. She manages more than 30 domestic violence caseworkers and counselors, as well as the two emergency shelters and long-term housing for violence victims. 

With five people physically abused by an intimate partner every 15 seconds in the U.S., Fran works around the clock. Under her leadership, CFPA is providing more nights in safe shelter than ever – surpassing 10,000 nights in 2020 — helping more survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking (with crisis hotline calls up 25%), and working toward its vision of a safe and peaceful community.

During COVID-19, when everyone was instructed to stay home in order to stay safe, there remained a population of individuals who found themselves in the most unsafe place they could be. Fran and her team remained open and available to victims of domestic violence in Peoria, Tazewell and Woodford counties 24-7, despite the personal risk of contracting COVID-19, to ensure no person in the CFPA service area had to choose between their health and their safety.  

Meanwhile, Fran leads by example, never asking anything of her staff she wouldn’t do herself including working extra hours, weekend shifts, answering the crisis hotline, and taking on extra casework. Fran knows that if you want to go far, you go together. In short, she is, in the words of her nominator, “a hero.” 

Advice to your 20-year-old-self: “Time flies! Everything past my 20th year of life has felt like it occurred in the blink of an eye, even faster since having my three boys. I would remind myself to soak in all the happiness and all of the heartaches, as each one helped shape me into the person I am today.”  

Peoria needs: “More affordable housing. Many Peoria residents including those that we serve at CFPA have a difficult time finding safe, reasonably priced housing. Not having a secure, safe place to call home can be damaging for many and is a primary cause of homelessness. If there was more affordable housing, many individuals could work on building their self-sufficiency while developing a promising future for themselves, their families, and their community.”