The work of The Parent Child Center of Tulsa began in 1972. The current agency structure was officially incorporated on May 1, 1990, merging two smaller United Way agencies: Child Abuse Prevention Services and At Risk Parent Child Program.
When Colorado pediatrician C. Henry Kempe, M.D., first coined the phrase “battered child syndrome” in the mid-1960’s, medical professionals across the country and around the world took notice.
In 1972, nurses and physicians at Tulsa’s St. Francis Hospital responded to needs in our community surrounding child maltreatment by founding a Tulsa chapter of Parents Anonymous, a self-help group for parents. In May 1981, that organization was granted 501(c)(3) status and operated under the auspices of the Alliance to the Tulsa County Medical Society. In 1984, the organization received United Way funding. It was renamed Child Abuse Prevention Services (CAPS) in 1987.
In 1974, the At Risk Parent Child Program began at Hillcrest Medical Center when medical personnel noticed the need for programming surrounding child maltreatment. Pediatrician Donald Pfeiffer, M.D., and Cathy Ayoub, R.N., established one of the nation’s first “SCAN teams” to screen families of newborns for risk of abuse and neglect. They designed a home visiting program called “At Risk Parent Child Program” to offer parenting education.
To better serve clients and meet the needs of the community by offering similar child abuse and neglect prevention services under one roof, the Boards of Directors of Child Abuse Prevention Services and At Risk Parent Child Program worked for two years, at the urging of the United Way, toward a merger which became final in 1990.
In 1997, The Parent Child Center of Tulsa completed a $3.2 million dollar capital/endowment drive and moved into its current location at 1421 South Boston in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
In 2006, Desiree Doherty was named Executive Director, succeeding Claudette Selph who was the founding Director from 1990 to 2006.
From 2006 to 2016, the agency grew in size and scope. The agency provides state of the art child abuse prevention programming, and has become known for innovation in the area of infant mental health. The agency has become a leader working to change local court and child welfare systems to improve outcomes and prevent future court involvement in the lives of very young children through the community collaborative effort of the Safe Babies Court Team.
In February 2008, the agency received national accreditation through the Council on Accreditation, and was re-accredited in February 2012.
In 2016, the Board of Directors named Kristine D. Bridges Executive Director after Desiree Doherty’s retirement.
Today, The Parent Child Center of Tulsa is considered a leader among Tulsa area nonprofits in the areas of best practice, quality improvement and outcome evaluation.