NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — It’s a heartbreaking reality. Ten percent of Tennessee children are abused before the age of 18.
The Nashville Children’s Alliance opened its doors in 1996 to help children heal from the trauma of sexual physical abuse.
The non-profit agency prepares to enter a new era of leadership as its CEO of 23 years retires.
June Turner says her retirement is a matter of timing and the time is now. She says it’s time for new leadership, new energy, and a new vision for NCA.
“I knew when we finally got moved to this beautiful new family safety center that my mission for so many years would have been accomplished,” said Turner.
Her mission was to create a centralized location of support services for child abuse victims.
The new Metro Safety Center puts police, the DA’s office, and the Department of Children Services under one roof, along with highly trained therapists speaking English and Spanish.
“It is serving the children who have needed us when there were allegations of severe child maltreatment and to know that we have played a part in keeping those children safe and helping them stay in the forefront of their investigation and also in their healing.”
Turner says she has seen great progress in people’s willingness to talk about the epidemic behind closed doors and she says that dialogue must continue.
“We continue that conversation in the media. We continue that conversation within our families, within our churches, and within our community.”
The bottom line, Turner says, is a child’s protection lies in the hands of adults.
“To be there for children, be alert and when children need to talk….listen. And to treat children gently and with respect so children feel we are their allies and safe people with whom to talk,” said Turner.
Turner’s co-workers and friends will celebrate her service to children during a reception Thursday at the Family Safety Center.
Her last day on the job is Halloween, Oct. 31.