Our Partners Reflect

Claudette Selph, Past Director, Parent Child Center of Tulsa

If you raise a child in a happy and healthy environment, you can produce a person who contributes to society.

“Oklahoma has the fifth-highest rate of child abuse in the U.S. The combination of high poverty levels, significant drug and alcohol abuse in our state and insufficient treatment for those in need contribute to the epidemic of child abuse and neglect and makes our work that much more important. In fact, child abuse is often the root of many medical and emotional issues, from alcoholism and drug abuse to mental health problems and adult medical problems.

“When Charles and Lynn first visited the Parent Child Center in Tulsa, our office space was cramped, our programs were limited and our workload was tremendous. They saw the overwhelming need in the community and supported us. Charles and Lynn realized instinctively that if you raise a child in a happy and healthy environment, you can produce a person who contributes to society, rather than takes from it.

“The initial gift they made, as well as their ongoing support, has made a healthier, happier life possible for thousands of families throughout Tulsa. With their investment, we built a new building that allowed the center to expand its programs, provide more prevention services and offer more treatment for children who had suffered abuse. People often wrongly assume that children who are abused eventually ‘get over it.’ They don’t. The Foundation recognized the importance of addressing these issues with adequate resources including prevention programs and therapy for victims.

“To date, our community has made a lot of progress, but we realize that there is always work to be done. When the various bodies within the Tulsa child protection system—from the Department of Human Services to the District Attorney’s Office—were not communicating fully, we worked with the Foundation to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the child protection services in Tulsa. Tulsa County Child Protection Coalition, which emerged as a result, is hugely influential in helping the coordinating bodies become stronger advocates for children. The Foundation has been an ardent supporter of system change through communication and training. The Tulsa County Child Protection Coalition has been a driving force in Tulsa and instrumental across the state in helping with legislative and local changes needed to better serve children.

“Throughout the years, the Foundation has helped us be as impactful as we can be—providing leadership training, strategy development and even facilitating a number of cultural exchanges with similar organizations in Israel. My trip to Israel helped the center build meaningful collaborations that have improved the lives of children in Tulsa. Most importantly, though, their leadership has sent a clear message to other philanthropists that child abuse is a priority issue.”

Read more about our work in Child Welfare