The Our Kids story
In 1985, a law was passed in Tennessee that requires any person who suspects a child is being sexually abused to report those concerns to authorities. Over the next two years, there was a 450% increase in the number of abuse cases reported to the Department of Human Services.
Treating the children
Although this law was crucial to helping children who are victims of sexual abuse, it did not address the problem of treating these children. Hundreds of children were brought to Nashville General Hospital by Department of Human Services workers, police and parents. Since physicians typically are not trained for or experienced in dealing with sexually abused children, there was no resource specifically designed to provide medical and psychological evaluations and related services for children and their families.
The founding partners
During this time, Junior League of Nashville members concerned about child sexual abuse led the organization to investigate what services were available for children. The League determined there needed to be a dedicated system in place to evaluate children who may have experienced sexual abuse. They partnered with Nashville General Hospital and Vanderbilt University Medical Center to bring together a core group of providers with expertise in medical evaluations for child sexual abuse and in 1987 began the work of Our Kids.
The following year, a small group of committed Junior League volunteers — Nan Andrews, Molly Bronaugh, Bitsy Hughes, Beth O’Shea, Sally Ridenour and Claudette Smith— formed a community board and developed a nonprofit corporation to support the project.
A warm, child-friendly environment
With the guidance of our founders, community, corporate support and countless hours of volunteer effort, what began as a program operating in 300 feet of space has become the Our Kids Center. Our first free-standing home opened in 1993, and we moved to a larger facility in 2002. Our Kids services are provided in a warm, child-friendly environment at no cost to a child’s family. Today, as a result of the commitment of hundreds of individuals and a dedicated community, Tennessee’s children and families get compassionate care at the Our Kids Center.