The Dianne DeVanna Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect was founded in 1978 after the death of Dianne DeVanna at the hands of her father and stepmother. The death of this 11 year old shocked the South Shore area, forcing communities to recognize the realities of child abuse, the possibility of such tragedy to occur in their own communities and the need to implement prevention programs through active community participation.
Dianne DeVanna was buried in a simple, unmarked grave. In an effort to provide Dianne the dignity she never received in her short life, the South Shore area residents and businesses established a Memorial Committee to raise money to purchase a headstone. When a headstone was instead donated outright, the Committee decided to use the donated money to establish a lasting memorial to Dianne. Thus, the Dianne DeVanna Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect was established with the hope to raise awareness for the issue of child abuse and provide preventative services to families.
Since its founding, the DeVanna Center has positively impacted the lives of thousands of children through parenting support groups, mentor programs, direct parent aide support, public forums and education events. The DeVanna Center has not only upheld its original mission but has expanded its services and outreach, growing into an extremely effective service provider for many at-risk families.
In 2012 the Dianne DeVanna Center joined the Bay State Community Services (BSCS) continuum of care. Together, the DeVanna center and BSCS continue to support the original mission inspired by Dianne through providing advocacy, education, parent aide and transportation services to children and families throughout the greater South Shore area.