Central Texas groups to receive funding for Child Abuse Prevention

Posted at 10:57 PM, Sep 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-14 11:00:32-04

In 2015, Texas spent $454 billion dollars on child abuse. 

According to the Waco-based analysis firm Perryman Group, incarceration, medical bills, and foster homes are just some of the costs incurred as a result of child abuse. 

Over the next five years, lawmakers are set to spend more on preventive measures and early intervention programs (PEI). McLennan County is home to one of the programs that will receive funding. 

Healthy Outcomes through Prevention and Early Support or H.O.P.ES. matches parents of children between the ages of 0-5 to community resources. This is the second year the group will receive funding from a grant secured by Waco's Family Abuse Center.

Kathy Reid, Executive Director of Family Abuse Center, said despite the center's name, they are a resource for everyone. 

"Most people probably identify us with abuse and the domestic violence and the domestic violence shelter but what I always say is family is our first name," Reid said. 

In a release from Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, they refer to PEI's as health alternatives.  This means the center will able to provide resources to families at all stages.

 "That early childhood education those first few years are so critical in how they will be ready for school and how they will be how they will work in life," Reid said.

Carlos Gutierrez, Project Specialist at H.O.P.E, said early intervention has already yielded positive results.  

"If a professional is involved in that family then more than likely they're not going to have negative outcomes in that family," Guttierez said. 

Lawmakers said they hope that continuing to fund education and intervention might change those numbers, and it looks like there is already hope.

According to Gutierrez, "99.7 percent of families involved in the hopes program don't have any instances of child abuse or CPS cases that arise."

Programs welcome everyone who would like help or need assistance with with parenting resources. 

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