The 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 The Dee Norton Lowcountry Children’s Center (DNLCC) in memory of one of its founders and long-time volunteers, Dee Norton, and in 2017 the Center was renamed the Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center to better reflect the nature of the work we do for children in our community. Dee Norton is a Charter Member of the National Children’s Alliance, the national accreditation body for Children’s Advocacy Centers (CAC) and an Affiliate Program of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network.