Ann was well known throughout the State of Oklahoma for her pioneering work in child abuse treatment and prevention. Colleagues described her as “literally a voice in the wilderness” when she first began offering counseling and other services to at risk families and victims of child abuse back in the early 1970’s. Few professionals during that period could boast of the low recidivism rate after treatment that Ann achieved.
Ann had been out of school for 22 years when she decided to return to college in the mid 1960’s and earn a Master’s Degree in Social Work at the University of Oklahoma. She was 47 when she started her professional social work career, and 53 when she founded Parents Assistance Center for child abuse treatment and prevention. In the early days, before the agency was started she spent her own money and used her own home for meetings until she was able to obtain money from the Department of Human Services to widen her delivery of help for families at risk, and people who were already in the system because of abuse. Over time, her program gained credibility from the courts, judges, caseworkers, and most of all from the clients she served. As a frequent lecturer at professional meetings, she often started her talk by saying, “I don’t think anyone gets up in the mornings and says, ‘Today I’m going to abuse my child’.” It was Ann’s philosophy of supporting peer based, self-help programs for parents, and above all, treating clients with respect, which was the key to Parents Assistance Center’s long standing success. Now known as Family Builders, the agency is still running strong and celebrated its 40th year in operation last year.
Ann was licensed for general practice of social work by the Oklahoma State Board of Licensed Social Workers, and was certified by the National Association of Social Workers. She recorded her years of knowledge and expertise into a reference book for community leaders and professionals entitled “Preventing Child Abuse in Your Town.” In recognition of her work, she was honored with the Distinguished Professional Service Award from the Oklahoma Psychological Association in 1983. Over the years, she received awards for outstanding dedication and service from the Board of Directors for Parents Assistance Center. Just before she retired in 1990, Governor Henry Bellmon and the District Seven Oklahoma County Child Abuse Prevention Task Force declared April 7th as “Ann Hardy Day” in the State of Oklahoma. Each year during National Child Abuse Prevention Month, the “Ann Hardy Award” is given by the task force to an individual who has shown distinguished service to children and families. In 1999 she was inducted into the Oklahoma University School of Social Work Hall of Honor for Social Work Practice.
In 2017, the Ann Foster Hardy Scholarship was created by a donation from Ms Hardy's children. Donors may contribute to this scholarship fund by contacting the OU Foundation to donate to fund 42990 or clicking here.
Posted on Fri, April 21, 2017
by Laura Kent filed under