Have a happy retirement, Nancy Hungerford

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 1, 2017

In June of 1983 Nancy Hungerford and her family arrived at what was then known as the Natchez Protestant Home on North Union St.  They were moving in just as the two “Matrons” were departing.

Their arrival marked the first major transition in many years in the way the Protestant Home was run.  Now after almost 35 years and many more changes, Nancy is stepping down as executive director of Natchez Children’s Services,  a 201-year old agency which is the oldest nonprofit in Mississippi.

Over her years here, Nancy, her staff and the board of directors have overseen not only name changes but also numerous program transformations and expansions, including a residential group home, care of abused and neglected children, an on-campus Christian school, ABCs preschool, foster care training and recruitment, several partnerships offering preschool day treatment and an array of individual, group and family counseling.

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Five programs, all driven by a mission to strengthen children and families, now inhabit  806 North Union Street.  These include:

4Families First for Mississippi

4The Critical Intervention Team (CIT) of Adams County Sheriff’s Office

4The Tobacco Free Coalition (helping children reject all tobacco products)

4New Hope Vision Academy (K12) and

4Natchez Children’s Services’ Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC)

In addition Mrs. Yolanda Morgan offers her excellent food services there through Morgan Catering.

CAC is a nationally accredited program serving Adams, Jefferson, Franklin, Claiborne and Wilkinson counties. Child victims who have witnessed a violent crime or are the victims of alleged felony abuse are referred for a recorded forensic interview in a child-friendly environment.   Interviews are observed by a Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) comprised of law enforcement, child protective services, mental health professionals, youth court personnel and victim advocates.

Together, the MDT makes decisions and recommendations regarding the case. The CAC then offers trauma-focused therapy, victim advocacy and court preparation to each child and family. The child tells his/her story only one time. Prevention programs for adults (Darkness to Light) and children (Safe Touch) are also available. To date, more than 300 children have been served at the CAC.

Nancy will remain part-time as the head of community resources. She will continue as president of the Adams County Coalition for Children and Youth and president of the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Mississippi, furthering the CAC movement and growth in Mississippi and through the National Children’s Alliance in Washington, D.C.

To honor the wonderful job Nancy Park Hungerford has done for this agency and to celebrate her extraordinary accomplishments as its executive director,  the board of directors of Natchez Children’s Services is inviting the public to a party to be from 5  to 8 p.m. Thursday at Natchez Art and Architectural Discoveries, 515 Main Street.

Do mark your calendars and come to the party to wish Nancy well and to  thank her for her years of devotion to the children and families of our area. Hope to see you there!
Kathie Blankenstein is board member emeritus for Natchez Children’s Services.