NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Child welfare advocates celebrated and dedicated the San Augustine County Children's Service Center Wednesday.
The opening happens weeks after census figures report Texas ranks 38th in child poverty.
The San Augustine County Children's Service Center sits in one of the poorest counties in the state, but where leaders have a wealth of concern for its children.
"Isn't it wonderful," said San Augustine County Judge Samye Johnson Every little place is a miracle."
Johnson can't contain her excitement. The county planned for years a centralized place for the services to protect children.
"We just didn't have the resources that we need to get our, first, our children out of harm's way and second helping to enrich the families circumstance, so that they aren't in harm's way," Johnson said.
Such as the dangers of sexual abuse and domestic violence. A teacher of 52 years recognizes the critical results of extreme poverty.
"It's hard to think that right around us there are children who are going thru the same things, being abused and neglected," said Willie Faye Farrett, a Child Services board member.
"They are sad statistics, and yes, that is something we will continue to fight for that every child has every service available to them and this office, this building is a huge step in that direction," said Denise Merriman, the executive director of the Child Advocacy Center.
CPS, CASA, the Child Advocacy Center and a Rainbow Room filled with comforting items will be steps away from one another.
"We've got all of that now," Johnson said. "And this is not going to answer all of our questions, but it is a wonderful, wonderful start."
The San Augustine County Texas AgriLife Extension Office connects to the Children's Service Center. It will offer agricultural services, but also compliment the preventive measures the Children Service's Center needs.
"We can do parenting classes and we also have the ability to do nutrition classes," said Sandy Jenkins, the county agent for family consumer science.
The TLL Temple Foundation matched a $275,000 Community Development Grant in recognition of San Augustine's need for child welfare services.