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Message from the Director

Hello! Welcome to Southmountain Children & Family Services.

I am excited to share information with you about the incredible programs and services we have been providing to children and families of North Carolina since 1903. 

Our humble beginnings as one of Miss Emily Prudden’s 15 “Industrial Schools” set the stage for us to become the most unique and one of the most successful Family Service Agencies in the Southeastern United States. The persistence, perseverance, and drive that Miss Emily showed at the turn of the Century still lives in the hearts and minds of the Board, Administration, and Staff of Southmountain today. In fact, without this determination we may have faded away like 13 of Miss Emily’s other schools. (The only other one to survive is Pheifer University.) Likewise, many other children’s agencies have faded away over the past few years either by closing their doors or by merging into larger agencies. It is hard to say just what has set us apart from the others. Maybe it is that Emily Prudden-like leadership, or our willingness to adapt to change. Maybe it is our ability to think (and act) outside of the box, or our understanding of limited resources and how to do more with less.

In my opinion, it is all of these things combined. One example is the “foster community” concept that we developed in 2004. This model is so “out of the box” that there is no other program like it in the State and only few even similar in the US. The model has proven to be the most effective and cost-efficient means of care we have ever provided. Likewise, our continued advancement in Children’s Advocacy Centers and Evidence-based Practice are great examples of our willingness to take the lead in providing better services to the children and families of NC, and, of our ability to operate programs utilizing limited resources to the fullest.

These are just a few of the reasons I think you will find that Southmountain Children & Family Services is worthy of your interest. I hope you will take time to get to know our programs and our staff. We have hired some extremely capable, knowledgeable, and dedicated individuals and couples to care for our children and provide services for the children and families of our communities. And, our employees participate in and provide some of the most comprehensive training available. Our folks are, quite simply, the best! And, the services our employees provide are, well again, quite simply the best! Once you get familiar with them, I am sure you will agree. 

Thanks again, for your time and your interest in helping us with our mission of providing pathways for children, families, and the community. 

W. Chris Jernigan
Executive Director, Southmountain Childrens & Family Services