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Natchez Children’s Home Service continues youth outreach efforts

“Agreeable to notice previously given, a number of ladies who have subscribed to the support of a Charity School and other benevolent objects, assembled at the house of Mrs. Samuel Davis to form a Constitution and to adopt measures for carrying into effect their benevolent intentions,” — March 12, 1816.

Thus, the Constitution of Natchez Female Charitable Society established a school and later a home for orphaned children in the southwest Mississippi territory.

Today, exactly 198 years later, Natchez Children’s Home Services (NCHS) is poised to meet the needs of at-risk children and families for its third century.

Complex family and societal challenges today demand a more proactive and preventive response and NCHS staff, board of directors, partners and supporters are ready.

Consider the following 2012 statistics from National Children’s Advocacy Center:

- About 1 in 10 children will be sexually abused before they turn 18.

- Almost 63,000 U.S. children were victims of child sexual abuse.

- At least 40 percent of offenders of victims under age 12 are teenagers.

- Child sexual abuse affects girls and boys of all ages and across all ethnic, racial, cultural, income and religious groups.

NCHS Children’s Advocacy Center is two years old and has already conducted more than 100 recorded interviews of children from Adams, Franklin, Jefferson, Claiborne and Wilkinson Counties who have been alleged victims of abuse or have witnessed a crime. Referrals to the CAC come from area law enforcement or Department of Human Services.

NCHS offers “Darkness to Light” (d2l.org) facilitation and training for any adult group wanting to learn the Five Steps to Protecting Our Children. This two-and-a-half hour training is recommended for any youth-serving organization — sports leagues, day care centers, schools, clubs and churches and for conference presentations and staff development.

NCHS has partnered with Mississippi Children’s Home Services (MCHS) to provide family preservation services to southwest Mississippi and telemedicine access to therapists, psychiatrists and mental health professionals for children and families in a five-county area.

NCHS is developing programs for special needs children and youth and additional behavioral and educational classes through our alliance with MCHS.

Today, we are grateful for the generosity of area churches, clubs, schools, individuals, foundations, businesses and bequests that have undergirded the ministry of Natchez Children’ s Home Services.

This 198th anniversary is a blessing to be celebrated in honor of the thousands of children who have been helped, and the countless friends who have made it possible for the Natchez Female Charitable Society of 1816 to continue its mission as Natchez Children’s Home Services on March 12, 2014 and beyond.

For more information on how you can help, call 601-442-6858 or email info@ntzchs.org.

 

Nancy Hungerford is executive director of Natchez Children’s Home Services.