Children’s Advocacy Center of Greater West Texas, Inc. (CAC) was established in Tom Green County in 1991. Concerned community members wanted an advocacy center as a way to reduce re-traumatization of children by using a coordinated child-centered approach to child abuse investigations, limiting the number of times a child had to re-tell, and in essence, relive their experience. In 1992, CAC started Hope House, its first program.
Prior to Hope House, the various agencies investigating allegations of child abuse lacked effective coordination and children who had been abused had to tell their story to many: law enforcement, child protective services, district attorney, therapists, and possibly a nurse and/or teacher, often re-traumatizing the very children these agencies sought to rescue. It was felt an advocacy center could bring all professionals together as a team to investigate allegations and provide services for children and families in a less institutional, more home-like environment. CAC began serving the community by offering child abuse victims and non-offending caregivers a warm, home-like environment and utilizing a child-friendly, multidisciplinary approach throughout the investigation, prosecution, and healing process.
Recognizing the efficiency and the numerous quality, communication, and economic benefits of housing a full range of community-driven programs under one roof, CAC continued to grow into the umbrella organization that exists today.
In 1998, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) and Child Fatality Review Team (CFRT) were added to the listing of services offered by CAC. In 1999, the need to add a prevention program in the community was identified, and Family Enrichment Services (FES) was established, followed shortly by the Concho Valley Family Alliance which is a coalition comprised of community members, businesses and parents; later named the Child & Family Well-being Initiative. Since the inception of CAC, it has grown from two volunteer staff to now serving thirteen counties of the Concho Valley.