AUSTIN (KXAN) – The Austin Children’s Shelter will mark its 30th anniversary with a new name to reflect its expanded mission.
Now called Austin Children’s Services (ACS), the organization has been working to end child abuse and neglect in the Austin community since 1984. After 25 years of residential home settings in West Austin, ACS moved to a new 13-acre campus at Rathgeber Village in the Mueller community in late 2009. It now offers an array of services designed to prevent abuse before it happens and to better intervene when abuse and neglect have already occurred, including:
- Strong Start, a child abuse prevention program for at-risk families with children under age 6
- Care Academy, a child development and family support center
- Foster in Austin, a program to recruit, train, monitor and support loving families that provide foster placements for children in their own homes.
- Long-term transitional housing for teens working toward independence
- A teen parent program aimed at breaking the cycle of abuse
- Residential programs for emergency shelter
“We are going to continue to expand our foster family services and respite programs for families that possibly can keep kids safe in their homes if they have some respite, and our child abuse prevention programs,” CEO Kelly White said.
But she says ACS staff will also work on stabilizing and perfecting services, after a period of such rapid growth.
“At our core, we’ve stayed the same. We are staying the course. We are committed to ending child abuse,” White said. “It’s just really wonderful to have the city of Austin recognize the work that we have done.”
The City of Austin is proclaiming May 16, 2014 “Austin Children’s Services Day.”