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Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2024 at 10:00 am


Photos by Zoe Watkins

April is National Child Abuse Awareness Month. To recognize some of the services available in Bedford County, Mayor Chad Graham signed a proclamation Thursday morning, highlighting the work of The Center for Family Development, a non-profit organization located on the Shelbyville Square.

They provide an array of resources and services to families and children suffering from abuse. They also provide prevention services and parenting classes. Talking with Denise Lindsey from the center, she said one of the biggest misconceptions of child abuse is that it doesn’t exist in the county. But it does.

“I hear that a lot. People just don’t know about it because it’s not something you talk about. It’s not something you advertise,” said Lindsey, who’s worked in family development for over 40 years.

She said people are often afraid to report abuse because they might’ve misconstrued something. In that case, you can call the child abuse hotline at 877-237-0004 to do an anonymous referral. Reports also can be made online at

“Everybody is a mandated reporter across the state. Everybody,” Lindsey emphasized. “If you know the situation, call and report. You’ve done your due diligence.”

Being right on the Square, she said the center has lots of people walk into their office looking for help, and those at the center try to point them in the right direction, such as connecting them to support groups or to the Community Clinic of Shelbyville and Bedford County, located at 200 Dover St.

“We work with grandparents who are serving as caregivers. We also provide preventions services. We do parenting classes, and we also have a Healthy Families Program, which works with first-time parents who need support,” she said, adding that the Healthy Families Program has been around since 1995. They do “intensive” weekly home visitations with parents for up to three years.

Prior to signing the proclamation, Graham sat with several representatives from The Center for Family Development to better understand their impact in the community.

“I know you’ve been big to work with the Community Clinic and The Other Door,” said Graham, referring to services available at the Bedford County Business Complex on Dover Street. “If the person presents, or the family actually gets to one of these resources, we really need to handle them as holistically as we can.”

Graham added that Clinic Director Fredia Lusk and the Community Clinic have been easy “conduits” to work with and compliment other agencies like The Center for Family Development.

The Center for Family Development is located at 124 Public Square East in Shelbyville. Call (931) 684-4676 for more information.