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Texas CACs Close Out Record Fiscal Year with Largest Increase in Child Victims Served

The nation’s largest network of children’s advocacy centers (CACs) closed out state fiscal year (FY) 2018 with its largest ever annual increase in child victims served by Texas CACs. The 71 CACs across the state served 58,432 children in FY 2018 - a 22% increase from FY 2017.

This historic rise in children served is part of a four-year trend of substantial growth in the demand for CAC services. Despite a relatively steady number of child abuse reports at the state level year-over-year, there has been a 46% increase in children served by a CAC from FY 2015 to FY 2018.

While the increase in children served has allowed CACs to steadily chip away at the vast number of existing cases of abuse in need of CAC services, tens of thousands of children in need remain unserved on an annual basis.

At the current rate of growth and with adequate resources, Texas CACs are on track to serve over 80,000 child victims of abuse by FY 2020.

Growing public and private investment in CACs is critical to meet current and projected demand for CAC services. While Texas CACs currently do not have the capacity to serve 80,000 child victims of abuse, with adequate funding, CACs are ready to scale their services and increase capacity to meet demand from multidisciplinary team partners that include local law enforcement, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), and local district and county attorneys.

“While we are proud of the work we have accomplished together to increase the number of children served each year, there are still thousands more children in Texas that need CAC services,” said Joy Rauls, CEO of the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Texas. “We are confident that with the sustained investment and support of the public and private sectors, our CAC network will continue working toward our ultimate shared goal of reaching EVERY child, providing EVERY service, and making EVERY effort.”

The significant increase in the number of children served by a CAC improves child safety and justice through best practice multidisciplinary team investigations and prosecution of child abuse cases. The CAC model also connects more children and families with specialized CAC medical, mental health, and victim advocacy and support services as early as possible to begin the child’s journey of healing. Most CAC cases involve child sexual abuse with other cases involving serious child physical abuse, child sex trafficking, or children who witness a violent crime.

Factors contributing to FY 2018’s historic 22% increase in children served by a CAC include the intentional dedication of state and federal funding for CACs; passage of Senate Bill 1806 by the 85th Texas Legislature that requires certain child abuse cases be routed to a CAC for facilitation of a multidisciplinary team response; local CAC access to reports of child abuse at the point of intake; and an ever-strengthening relationship between the DFPS and CACs at the state and local levels

Children’s Advocacy Centers™ of Texas, Inc. (CACTX) is the non-profit 501(c)(3) statewide membership association representing all 71 local children’s advocacy centers (CAC) in Texas. Founded in 1994, CACTX creates a statewide platform for public-private partnerships within communities, fueling the success of the CAC approach by uniting advocates and giving local CAC communities a statewide voice. CACTX membership reflects the vast diversity of Texas, all with the shared mission to restore the lives of abused children by reaching EVERY child, providing EVERY service, and making EVERY effort.

Did you know:

During fiscal year 2019, 59,919

children receive critical services at a children’s advocacy center in Texas. With your help, we can continue to serve thousands of more children each year.

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