Harold's House expanding to Nacogdoches amidst budget cutbacks

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - For a decade Harold's House in Angelina County has been helping child victims of physical and sexual abuse face their accusers, but tomorrow, that service expands to Nacogdoches.

"We can't change what has happened to these children before they get to us, but we certainly can make a difference in their little lives after they leave," says Laura Squiers, the Executive Director Harold's House.

This month, 19 children have gone through Harold's House. Nearly half of those were from Nacogdoches.

"Any time you have an environment like you have now where it's very tough economic times, child abuse, unfortunately escalates," says Squiers.

The expansion means the advocacy center will get more money from the state, but they're depending on state and federal funding at a time when budgets are tight.

Representative Louie Gohmert says cutbacks in worthless federal spending could help get more funding for the center.

"You look at all the waste and you think about the places that it could be more effectively used. Like directly helping abused kids. There shouldn't be a need to cut budgets for things that are vital to a healthy society," says Gohmert.

The child victims are interviewed and then law enforcement officers are able to watch the entire interview through closed circuit television on the TV in the observation room. This is one of the many services the center provides that CPS says makes all the difference.

"They are incredibly important for...making sure kids are safe, making sure criminals are held accountable and also for providing therapeutic support for the children and family after the horrible events take place," says Eugene Frizzell the CPS Investigations Program Director.

In the midst of a bigger responsibility, the center says they have faith, the funding will come.

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