March is Women’s History Month, and what better way for us to celebrate than by recognizing the woman who started Family Builders, Ann F. Hardy. Hardy sat on multiple mental health boards and first became involved in 1975 after a meeting at the Faculty House sponsored by the Oklahoma County Mental Health Association. She was invited to run one of the Parents Anonymous meetings.
Although hesitant, Hardy agreed to run one meeting. After the meeting, clients began calling her home phone because no one else was available to help them. At this moment, Ann Hardy recognized the need for a program that offers parents the assistance that the state could not provide.
The first 14 months of the program were entirely volunteer-based. Hardy realized that they needed paid employees, office space, and supplies for this program to be a success. In March of 1976, a meeting with the Director of DHS was presented to estimate the value in preventing repeat child abuse incidents. During the meeting, they realized a program such as this would qualify for title XX money. From this meeting, the Parents Anonymous became Parents Assistance Center (PAC) and has contracted with DHS ever since. PAC’s first contract with the state began on July 1, 1976, and was for $44,000 for that fiscal year.
A surprise development was the heavy load of court-involved clients. The courts, child welfare, and other medical and social service agencies depended on PAC for client services and feedback, which led to consultations and court letters. The first court letter written from PAC was in pencil on a 5×8 yellow pad when a client said Judge Hunter had told her she should bring a note the next day to court to prove she was attending the group. PAC has also been a United Way Agency since 1990. In 2011, PAC was changed to Family Builders to reflect the nature of our services better.
Ann believed in supporting self-help for parents and treating them with respect. This was the core of her legacy. The critical work that Ann began continues today at Family Builders. We provide a wide variety of services to strengthen families to prevent child abuse, neglect, and other family violence. Click the ‘Donate Now’ button to donate in honor of a woman that made a difference in your life.