By CHRIS AGEE
The newly minted board of directors for the Children's Alliance Center for Palo Pinto County met last week for the first time and looks forward to an open house event this week to showcase the agency's new home.
District Attorney Mike Burns, who serves as the CAC board president, said he is satisfied with the organization's progress so far.
"I was pleased with the participation and enthusiasm demonstrated by members of our board during our first board meeting last Tuesday," he said. "It is exciting to see so many professionals from different but complementary disciplines come together in a common effort for the benefit of the children of our community."
Plans for the center's creation began last summer with individuals from varied fields expressing interest in becoming involved.
Ada McCloud, program specialist for Children's Advocacy Centers of Texas, was on hand for the initial presentation last August, during which she explained the basic purpose of establishing a countywide center.
"Their ability to share information make CACs different than any other model out there," she explained, as those involved represent diverse experience in handling cases of child abuse.
In addition to Burns, those serving on the board include officials from city and county law enforcement, schools, Child Protective Services, and the ministerial community.
That range of experience is specifically designed to help deal with the entire spectrum of child abuse, up to and including the prosecution of offenders.
Board member Joy Eaton explained the center received a building in the 200 block of S.E. 3rd Avenue as a donation and will use the property for its headquarters.
She explained the agency is still a few months away from taking cases, though she noted the project is moving along about three months ahead of schedule.
The non-profit organization has already accepted sufficient donations to qualify for a matching state grant, she explained.
This recent progress is perfectly timed, Eaton indicated, noting April is Child Abuse Awareness Month. The center is planning to take part in a related campaign, she said.
Burns expressed his anticipation of showing the new building to the community.
"I also look forward to our ribbon-cutting and 'Sip and See' event scheduled for March 28 and to giving members of the community the opportunity to view firsthand our facility," he said.
The open house is set for 4-6 p.m. Thursday with iced tea, lemonade and cookies for everyone.
All donations are appreciated, Eaton explained, noting donors will be able to pick out specific items to help furnish the new office space and provide other essentials.
Donations are tax deductible and can be made directly or online by visiting cacpalopinto.org.
Whether through volunteering or donating, Burns said everyone will "have the opportunity to become a part of the dream by contributing to the effort."
He said the center is off to a great start and expects to see more of the same.
"If the past several months have been any indication, I anticipate it will be a resounding success," he said.
For more information about the center or the upcoming event, contact Sheree Patterson at (940) 682-1883.