108 0879The Lowcountry's community effort of advocating for interagency coordination of services to child victims has a long history. Through a community survey in 1975, the Junior League of Charleston, Inc. identified gaps in services available to child victims in the Lowcountry, and a failure of community agencies to communicate and cooperate in the best interest of the children. At that time, the Junior League identified the issue of child protection as a priority and provided leadership to improve community coordination in response to allegations of child abuse.  The Junior League implemented a collaborative response model developed by the Junior League of Tennessee in 1982, called Comprehensive Emergency Services.  In 1985, this effort evolved into a community coordinating organization, Child at Risk.

With the encouragement of the Junior League, in 1988 the Charleston County Legislative Delegation appointed a committee to again study the issue of our community's response to allegations of child abuse. The committee identified the need for formal coordination of the delivery of services to children at risk in our community, and recommended establishing a center for this purpose.  With leadership from the Junior League, a community task force took responsibility for implementing the recommendation, which resulted in the creation of the Lowcountry Children's Center, Inc. in 1989.  The Center opened its doors in March 1991 at 1061 King Street. In 2001, the  Lowcountry Children's Center was renamed to The Dee Norton Lowcountry Children's Center (DNLCC) in memory of one of its founders and long-time volunteers, Dee Norton.

Who Is Dee Norton?

Dee_NortonDee Holmes Norton, DNLCC co-founder, believed in service to others.  Dee provided a strong and demanding voice for the children of her community and of her state.  She brought her insight, compassion and expectation of what is right into all of her volunteer work on behalf of children.  Her commitment was long term and consistent.  The depth of Dee's beliefs and the scope of her interest were reflected in her actions as a dedicated advocate for children and young people for more than twenty years.  Dee was a teacher, a tutor, a mentor and a volunteer.

In 1975, Dee identified the risk to children created as a result of abuse and neglect as her cause.  Dee served as the Chairman of the Child Advocacy Committee of the Junior League of Charleston, on the board of the Comprehensive Emergency Services and of Children At Risk.  In 1988, she was appointed as co-chair of the community task force that created the Lowcountry Children's Center.  Dee was instrumental in the development of the DNLCC and continued to serve as an active member of the Board of Directors and volunteer until her death in August of 2001.

Much of Dee's work was done behind the scenes but when she believed it necessary she would stand firm and lend her voice in the service of children. Dee valued the children and served them well. She valued and believed in the mission of the DNLCC. Dee's beliefs and values continue to be served as we work together to reduce the incidence and negative impact of child abuse in our community.