Breaking ground in June?
Child sexual abuse center looks to expand in Houston: Crucial facility halfwayto $30 million needed
The Children's Assessment Center has been an integral fixture in Harris County since 1991.
One of 65 child advocacy centers in Texas and more than 700 like it across the United States, the CAC, accredited by the National Children's Alliance, handles all of the intake for child sexual abuse cases in Harris County. That amounts to more than 5,000 cases per year.
Professionals from 45 partner agencies — from the FBI to the local branch of Communities in Schools — are co-housed in its current headquarters to ensure better case outcomes for children. But those agencies and the CAC itself are growing and expanding, and now in dire need of more space.
The CAC hopes to break ground in early June on its new parking garage, the first step of the expansion process.
The effort quietly launched in 2010, with the sale of a piece of the organization's Kirby Drive frontage property to Frost Bank. With additional contributions from area foundations and corporations, the fund has now reached the $15 million milestone.
The Children's Assessment Center hopes to break ground in early June on its new parking garage, the first step of the expansion process. For the remaining $15 million, the CAC is seeking community donors to contribute.
Though there are options for varying levels of donations, for $389 individuals or groups can be a part of the Square Foot Society.
"It really does say, 'The community is going to support this expansion,'" executive director Elaine Stolte tells CultureMap.
An expanded facility means more room for current agencies, like the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which can move its entire team into the space. Others, like the Center for the Missing, can get an office in the building at long last.
It also means a more efficient process. The CAC already serves as a one-stop facility, where everything from an initial forensic interview, to medical examinations and therapy takes place under one roof, ensuring that children will be able to recover, both physically and psychologically, from sexual abuse. After in-depth needs assessments with each agency, the CAC can improve its system for more effective collaboration.
This will not only streamline the intake process, but also ease the stress on children.
The CAC's training component — aimed at informing partner agency members, first responders (like teachers, nurses and guidance counselors) and the general community about the signs, symptoms and reporting processes for child abuse — will be expanded and housed in a separate section of the building.
Find out more about the CAC's capital campaign here, or by watching the video above.