Mission & History
The mission of The Exchange Club/Stephens Center is to prevent child abuse and neglect while promoting healthy, non-violent families through appropriate home-visiting, parenting classes and community education programs. The Center is licensed by the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services as a child abuse prevention agency. The Stephens Center is HFA and National Exchange Accredited. The Exchange Club/Stephens Center provides services to children and parents in Overton, Putnam, Cumberland, Dekalb, Macon, and White Counties.
The Exchange Club/Stephens Center, a non-profit, 501( c )3 family support and child abuse prevention agency, was established in 1988 by Anna Stephens in memory of her late husband, Holland J. Stephens. The Center is part of the nationwide network of Exchange Club Child Abuse Prevention Centers and receives annual support from the Exchange Clubs of Lake Tansi and Livingston.
Executive Director’s Message
Nurturing and effective parenting are critical to children’s development, health, and lifelong well-being. All children need parents who can identify, meet, and advocate for their needs. While all parents want to do their best, they cannot always do it alone. By recognizing and building upon existing strengths within the family and community, we can partner with parents and caregivers as they work to strengthen their families and provide a safe, loving environment for their children.
Each of the programs provided by The Exchange Club/Stephens Center works with children and families in our community to achieve the following goals which have been proven to protect children from the risk of child abuse and neglect:
- Increase nurturing and attachment
- Improve knowledge of positive parenting skills
- Increase knowledge of child and youth development
- Promote parental resilience
- Widen the family’s network of social connections and community supports
Child abuse prevention through in-home visitation is the most effective and most economically feasible approach available today. Removing children from abusive homes and placing them in foster care is not the answer contrary to what most people believe. Here’s why – there are not enough foster homes to serve the number of children removed, foster care and group homes require enormous amounts of income to serve only a few children (($32,000.00 – $45,000.00 per child per year), and most children removed are placed back in the same abusive home after a period of time. We must work in the home with the children’s parents to replace negative parenting practices with nurturing, positive parenting skills. We must help provide these families with the education and social supports necessary for them to keep their children safe and to function independently. This is the only way to produce a real change for children in our society on a large scale. This is the only way to truly break the cycle of abuse and neglect.
Our programs reach hundreds of children each year at costs ranging from $425.00 to $1,843.00 per child per year. Your financial contribution plays a large part in creating safe homes and communities for children. Thank you for your love for children and for your support.