HHSC Highlights Child Abuse Prevention and Support Services

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, and several HHSC programs do vital work to protect Texas children.

The Child Advocacy Program administers funding for the two biggest child advocacy organizations in the state: Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) and Children’s Advocacy Centers (CACs) of Texas. CASA programs throughout Texas provide advocacy services for children under the age of 18 in the protective custody of the Department of Family and Protective Services. CAC programs facilitate the investigation and prosecution of child sexual and physical abuse cases through a multidisciplinary approach and provide critical support and aftercare services to children and their families.

The Family Violence Program (FVP) works through a network of trauma-informed service providers to provide emergency shelter and supportive services to survivors and their children, protecting them from further harm. The FVP also works to prevent child abuse by educating the public, providing training and offering prevention support to organizations across Texas.

The Office of Disability Prevention for Children (ODPC) educates the public and collaborates with public and nonprofit organizations to prevent disabilities and injury in children from the time of conception to age 12. ODPC works to promote respect, foster understanding, and highlight the importance of person-centered prevention and early intervention initiatives.

Preventing child abuse is one of the positive outcomes of the Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) program, which supports families with children from birth up to 36 months who have a developmental delay or disability. Children with disabilities and delays are often at higher risk of abuse and neglect. To help reduce this risk, ECI’s coaching model supports development of a positive parent-child relationship, and some families receive targeted therapy.

“Safeguarding Texas children from harm is one of our most important responsibilities,” said Rob Ries, HHSC Family Health Services deputy executive commissioner. “HHSC approaches this duty from several different angles, working to support strong family foundations where children thrive, while also intervening to protect children who have been harmed.”