Safety. Security. Truth. Trust.
These values are the basis of our work at Alliance For Children, the foundation on which we have built our physical spaces and the morals we live by daily. When a child walks through our doors, they are entering a "home" in the best sense of the word – a place where they can feel safe and secure, where their truth is heard by believing ears, and their case assessed and coordinated by experts whom the child and their protective family can trust.
The children’s advocacy center movement began in 1985 in Huntsville, Alabama, with the hope of decreasing trauma, streamlining investigations, and expediting healing services for child abuse victims. With other proactive communities watching, this thoughtful and detailed model soon spread across the nation ensuring all involved local parties, including law enforcement, the Department of Family and Protective Services, medical experts, and the district attorney’s office, had a seat at their local table.
Operating out of a small office at the Arlington Police Department, our original Executive Director opened The Children’s Advocacy Network, later to be renamed Alliance For Children. By working these child abuse cases in tandem with those original partners, the Arlington location served 500 children in our first year. Recognizing that the need was great throughout the county, and to better serve protective families in their own neighborhoods, our footprint expanded to Fort Worth in 1995 on Southland Avenue, followed shortly by Hurst in 1999. Vital to the continued success of Alliance For Children is the backbone of our agency, our community partnerships. The role of each of these members is essential to the healing, protection, and justice for each child victim. Bringing these disciplines together at one table ensures that each child we serve is given hope. Law enforcement, the district attorney’s office, and juvenile services seek justice, Child Protective Investigators ensure the family is safe and protected, and CARE team and SANE nurses help the child understand that their body is safe and healthy. Each of these is essential to the investigation and eventual closure of these cases, allowing child abuse victims to return to the joy of childhood, filled with hope and happiness.
Equally as important is our Board of Directors. Comprised of community leaders, volunteers, and representatives from our partner agencies, the Board of Directors guides the direction of our services, ensuring that the mission is always at the forefront of every decision we make. As every decision made affects the model as a whole, it is paramount that members of our partner agencies are active participants in the makeup of our Board. Each members’ gifts of their time, talent, and treasure are significant to the success of our mission and the healing of every child.
As we reflect on serving our first child 30 years ago, we remind ourselves that now more than ever, Tarrant County child victims need us. The COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath continue to have disastrous effects on children. Trapped with their abusers, who may be suffering the stress of isolation or loss of income, child victims suffered immeasurable harm over the last two years. However, there is hope in that darkness. With the reunification to safe adults, children are speaking up about what has happened to them. Because of their bravery, we continue to serve child abuse victims as we have throughout our 30-year history.
Child abuse does not discriminate – it can happen in every community, to every type of family. But through our work, we know child abuse can be prevented. Children can heal. The joys of childhood can be restored.
Join us over the coming months as we celebrate 30 years of protecting Tarrant County children. You’ll learn about our history, the why behind the work we do every day, and the values that define us.