Celebrate 200 with Children’s Services

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 6, 2016

On March 12, 1816, a group of prominent Natchez women gathered in the parlor of Mrs. John Henderson at Pleasant Hill and formally established “The Female Charitable Society.” Their initial purpose was to raise funds to establish a “charity school” for the education of underprivileged boys and girls in Natchez.

The organization succeeded in its purpose, but the needs of the community changed almost immediately. The Female Charitable Society quickly recognized the need for an “orphan house” after the yellow fever epidemics of 1817, 1818 and 1819 left many children without family or homes. The organization succeeded again and opened its orphanage in 1821.

The Female Charitable Society continued to evolve as the needs of the community evolved and true orphans became rare. Over the past two centuries, the organization has been known by a number of different names, including the Natchez Orphan Asylum, the Protestant Home and the Natchez Children’s Home. Today the organization’s name is Natchez Children’s Services (NCS).

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The goal, however — “saving lives, one child at a time” — has remained the same. The second century of serving children will be celebrated March 12, 2016.

Highlights of our 199th year include:

4Five counties of service (Adams, Claiborne, Franklin, Jefferson and Wilkinson)

457 forensic interviews in our Children’s Advocacy Center of alleged victims of physical, sexual or emotional abuse or neglect, or children who witnessed a violent crime

465 children prepared for and accompanied to court by our victim advocate

4Nine perpetrators of crimes against children brought to justice

4368 therapy sessions conducted with child victims without charge

4531 hours of training and facilitating five multi-disciplinary teams

41,000 hours of victim advocacy services

4400 hours of volunteer service contributed

45,200 meals prepared and served to children, families and volunteers

4250 Christmas gift bags distributed to children in southwest Mississippi

Our partnership with Mississippi Children’s Home Services continues to expand service offerings, including therapeutic day treatment classes for 4 and 5 year olds, telemedicine services, Mississippi Youth Programs Around the Clock (MYPAC) and an outpatient behavioral health clinic for children ages 6 to 21.

You are invited to join us at 3 p.m. Saturday, March 12 for a commemoration of 200 years of service to children by Natchez Children’s Services.

The program will be at the First Presbyterian Church, 117 South Pearl St. (corner of Pearl and State Streets) in Natchez. It will be followed by an open house from 4 to 6 p.m. on our campus at 806 North Union St. in Natchez. Donors, sponsors, former residents, staff, board members, volunteers and the public — all are welcome as we celebrate the history and services of the oldest nonprofit organization in Mississippi.

Thank you for the vital role friends in Natchez, Adams County and beyond have played in supporting abused, neglected and at-risk children for two centuries!


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