Mission and History

Heal a Child, Heal a Community

Our Mission

The Children's Center provides comprehensive mental health care to enhance the emotional well-being of infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and their families.

Our History

Founded in 1962 by Agnes M. Plenk Ph.D., The Children's Center had its beginnings in a nursery school in a community church. One little boy was quite disruptive and Dr. Plenk (fondly known as Agi) had to explain to his parents that he could no longer attend. His mother was terribly distressed and told Agi, “You are the one person in the community who has the training to help us and you're turning us away?" This conversation was transformational and inspired Agi to create The Children’s Center. Over the next 20 years she formed an agency that included two sites, one in Salt Lake City and one in Kearns as well as a group home for very young children. Because of that conversation with one mother many years ago, Agi’s unique relationship-based model has changed the lives of tens of thousands of children in our community.

From our humble beginnings in a community church, The Children’s Center has grown to employ a staff of over 100 people who are dedicated to improving the lives of young children. As the largest agency of our kind in Utah, we now provide care to over 2,000 families annually. And our generous friends and community provide over $1.5 million in donations each year that enable us to provide compassionate care to every child who needs our help, regardless of their ability to pay.

The Children’s Center is a highly-respected nonprofit organization providing comprehensive mental health care to children and their families across the socioeconomic spectrum. As recognized experts in treatment related to childhood trauma for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers; our expertise is sought after by professionals throughout the nation. We offer a range of services based upon the mental health needs of each child and family, including outpatient family and group therapy, and therapeutic preschool services. We are committed to excellence. We strive for best-in-class.