19 Days of Activism: The Family Center changes lives by breaking cycle of abuse

Nov 09, 2018 at 11:00 am by Child Advocacy Center

The Family Center of Middle Tennessee

During the 19 Days of Activism, the Child Advocacy Center has two goals. The first goal is that the 19 partner agencies will sponsor press releases to educate our community about child abuse, with a focus on the impact of opioids and substance abuse on children.  

Here's how The Family Center of Middle Tennessee helps:

Nationally we are facing an opioid crisis and according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Tennessee is also greatly impacted with a death by overdose rate of 18.1, significantly higher than the national rate of 13.3.

Here in Middle Tennessee, children in our communities are suffering as a result being raised in homes where opioid abuse occurs. Children in these homes are more likely to experience abuse, neglect, and other traumas.

RELATED: Learn more about ACEs here and here


Research in the field of neuroscience demonstrates that toxic stress in children, without substantive support, can have lifelong effects on their physical, psychological, and emotional wellbeing.

In addition, these children are more likely to experience behavioral challenges in schools and social settings. Adverse Childhood Experiences and Adverse Community Environments (ACEs) impact families and communities for generations.  

"Children don’t come with manuals. Many parents experienced their own ACEs as children and don’t have the knowledge and skills to be effective in helping their children grow into healthy and resilient adults. Add addiction into already challenging family dynamics, and families are creating potentially explosive situations that can result in multi-generational cycles of addiction, abuse, neglect, and trauma," said Susan Galeas, President and CEO of The Family Center.

"The Family Center is there when families need us most to assist in reducing the stigma and shame that often accompanies ACEs and to provide the tools necessary for families to create loving, nurturing relationships," Galeas continued. "We can’t change a family’s past, however, we can help them start from today knowing that hope comes from taking the first step in creating resilience in children."

THE FAMILY CENTER is a leader in the local ACE movement: providing direct services for vulnerable families (including in-home support for both parents & children), working with parents through city & county jails, substance abuse facilities, and parents referred through the Department of Children’s Services (DCS), the Department of Human Services (DHS), and community partners serving higher risk populations.

We also serve families from diverse backgrounds and are Nashville’s "change agent" for systems seeking a TRAUMA INFORMED framework in how their staff work with clients, defendants, inmates, or students.

This past year, we helped over 2,000 families from Davidson, Rutherford, Sumner, Wilson, and Cheatham Counties including training more than 600 staff in area jails and courts.

At The Family Center, we’re changing lives, changing families, and changing futures. 


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