Child Advocacy Centers Head to Austin

ODESSA - It's an organization whose mission is protecting and defending our children, and with a changing economy they're just trying to hang on.

Harmony Home in Odessa went before state lawmakers in Austin asking for enough resources to stay afloat.

The sheer number of child advocacy centers in Texas is proof-positive of the growing need. In 2001, there were 48 centers statewide. Now, seven years later, there are 63 centers. And the more we have in Texas the tighter the money gets stretched between them.

Harmony Home in Odessa tells us they're hoping to keep their support while the number of children enduring abuse just keeps adding up.

"The numbers are going to increase," Rodney Hall, Executive Director Harmony Home said. "The numbers have increased."

Harmony Home in Odessa works with surrounding counties supporting children who've become victims of abuse.

"Year after year, in 2001, we served about 23,000 kids," Hall said. "In 2008, child advocacy centers in the state of Texas served over 40,000 children. So our numbers have continued to increase. Not just here locally, but throughout the entire state."

That's why Harmony Home headed to the capital joining the other 62 child advocacy centers to meet with members of the Texas House and Senate.

"What we really wanted is just to maintain where we were," Hall said. "We know our economy is not doing great right now, so we really didn't want to push any efforts to increase our funding at this point."

Harmony Home operates on almost $500,000 a year, but their funding isn't limited to the state allotment. The organization also receives federal grants and local donations that helps maintain day to day operations.

"Hopefully when this economy gets better we'll have more resources to provide services to kids," he said. "More therapy services, more accompanyment, more things that the family needs in order to get back to living a normal life."

The center hopes which ever way the legislative session goes their local mission will continue.