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SPCC (Society for the Protection and Care of Children)
“We are a SOCIETY of experts who respectfully partner with families. We advocate for the health, safety and PROTECTION of children. We CARE about healing and strengthening relationships within the family. We empower parents to support their CHILDREN. Healing the past, nurturing the future. We are SPCC."
--The mission statement of The Society for the Protection and Care of Children
The Society for the Protection and Care of Children
By Katherine Hannula Hill
The story of SPCC began in New York City in 1875 with the plight of the small child Mary Ellen. Neighbors of Mary Ellen’s adopted family suspected she was being abused and joined forces to identify an organization to help her. To their amazement they found none. Undaunted, they continued their efforts and eventually gained an audience with Mr. Henry Bergh, the founder of the first Society for The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA). He agreed to help Mary Ellen and in so doing, the first child protection case in our nation’s history began.
Mary Ellen’s case was brought to court where she was found to be an abused child and was removed from her home. The judge in Mary Ellen’s case ordered that she be placed in the home of a new family, away from the city, where she could “go to charming birthday parties, make mud pies and live where there were plenty of green things growing.” That place was deemed Rochester, New York.
Mary Ellen remained in Rochester, where she married and raised two daughters, who also lived out their lives in Rochester. One of Mary Ellen’s daughters, Florence Brasser, devoted her life to teaching. Her outstanding work was memorialized by the Gates-Chili School District when they named a grammar school after her.
In 1994, the agency changed its name from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children to the Society for the Protection and Care of Children, and is now known more commonly as "SPCC." Currently, SPCC operates 5 programs, which together serve over 7,000 individuals a year.
I have worked at SPCC for two years. Nothing can really prepare you for hearing the stories of the emotional, physical and sexual abuse of children day in and day out, especially when you read about the abuse in graphic detail and then work with the abuser. Training is vital to give us the tools we need to help these children and parents heal and work towards the best solution for their family. The 2014 grant from the Kelly Ann Brown Foundation will be used to fund training in the Parents As Teachers curriculum. Parents As Teachers provides support to families with information on child development, parent-child interaction, and family well-being.
I know Kelly would be proud of the work I am doing. As a child I confided in Kelly in a way I didn’t confide in anyone else. She had a presence that said, “You’re safe and I’ll care about you no matter what.” When I need to talk to a child about abuse in the home, unwillingness to see a parent, or why they’re acting out, I channel Kelly. I hope to be as approachable and easy to talk to as she was. Kelly would have supported our mission to give children a safe place to see the parents that they love, but can’t always trust, and she would have understood that often in these cases, we are the one person they can trust to keep them safe. Kelly was that for me and through SPCC I can be that for other children.
Click here to learn more about SPCC.