Hibiscus Children’s Center Honors Founder LaVaughn Tilton


Earlier this year, Hibiscus Children’s Center and our community lost one of our children’s greatest advocates and heroes.  LaVaughn Tilton, Hibiscus Children’s Center Founder, had a passion stirring in her heart to make the world a safer place for children, free from abuse and neglect.  A Missouri native, LaVaughn and her family moved to Jensen Beach in 1963.  In 1985, with her late-husband Ransom R. Tilton at her side, LaVaughn began fulfilling her dream to create a safe haven for abused children to call home, receive critical services and foster a healing environment.  The community-wide effect that LaVaughn created is still going strong today in the family of volunteers, staff and supporters who continue to join in the fight against the devastating trauma children experience right here on the Treasure Coast.   LaVaughn laid the blueprint for the care victimized children needed.  Following in her footsteps, our goal is to protect our children and help them cope with trauma while building positive adaptive and problem-solving skills that will lead to a successful future.

During April, “Child Abuse Prevention Month” and every day, we are grateful that LaVaughn never wavered in her determination to answer the resounding question that troubled her, What about the children?  We don’t have any facilities for them”.  Over 35 years later, LaVaughn could not have fathomed the impact that her selfless dedication and heartfelt motivation would have on the more than 3,000 abused, abandoned and neglected children who have received safe haven, comfort and healing at Tilton Family Children’s Shelter in Jensen Beach and Hibiscus Village in Vero Beach.  LaVaughn’s perseverance positioned Hibiscus as a leader in child welfare and promoted expanded services that currently include residential services, trauma-informed care, mental health counseling, educational and career planning, abuse prevention/intervention, in-home parenting support and substance abuse services across the Treasure Coast and Okeechobee County.

There is no way to measure the lives that LaVaughn has touched with her gracious demeanor, kindness and generous spirit.  She was a genuine beacon of hope to our community and a voice for our fragile and traumatized children.  LaVaughn will always be our hero and remembered with love and gratitude for the priceless gifts she bestowed upon our children.  She will be greatly missed but her legacy lives on in the precious children we continue to save and help transform their lives for the better.

For more information, please visit or contact Michelle King, Chief Development Officer, at (cell) 561-452-5791.

LaVaughn Tilton