AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn and several state officials announced today that the Attorney General's office will now be responsible for the administration of funding for Children's Advocacy Centers of Texas. The 5 million dollars needed to operate the centers will come from excess funds in the Attorney General's crime victim compensation fund. Administrative funding for Children's Advocacy Centers was previously handled by the Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services.
"I cannot think of a better way to spend this money than giving it to the children of Texas," Cornyn said. "I have always said that protecting those who can't protect themselves is a top priority. I hope that my office's involvement with Children's Advocacy Centers of Texas will ensure that child abuse victims statewide get the help they need," Cornyn added.
There are currently 38 Children's Advocacy Centers operating statewide. The centers provide a safe, child-friendly atmosphere for law officers, district attorneys, and caseworkers to investigate incidents of child abuse without having to subject children to repeated interviews.
In 1997, 103 children died as a result of abuse or neglect in Texas. Last year, that number increased to 176 children. In the 176 cases of child deaths in 1998, the mother or father was identified as the abuser two thirds of the time.
Several state lawmakers, including Senator Bill Ratliff and Representative Rob Junnell, were instrumental in spearheading budgetary efforts and changes to the Texas Family Code to allow the Attorney General's office to fund Children's Advocacy Centers.
The funding from the Office of the Attorney General will be used to operate Children's Advocacy Centers of Texas.