HARLINGEN — For a little more than two decades, this nonprofit organization has been restoring hope and transforming lives for child victims of abuse.
This week, the organization marked a new chapter of its history.
The Children’s Advocacy Centers of Cameron and Willacy Counties (CACCWC) held a soft ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday to announce the new location of Maggie’s House.
Maggie’s House moved to 2220 Haine Dr. Suite #38 in Harlingen thanks to a donation of operational space made by the Harlingen Valley Baptist Medical Center (VBMC).
CACCWC first opened its doors in Brownsville with Monica’s House in 1988.
Maggie’s House was opened in Oct. 2001 in San Benito after nonprofit personnel saw the need to expand its services to children in northern Cameron County.
According to CACCWC Executive Director Laura Lyles Reagan, the new location for Maggie’s House has provided the organization with the necessary space to grow the team, which adds much needed staff in response to the demand for services.
The new location has amenities, such as a waiting room, a reception area, interview and monitoring rooms, a therapy room and other offices.
“The CACCWC offers a safe haven where victims of child abuse can begin the healing process as they experience the love and compassion from our amazing staff and partners,” CACCWC Board President Lizzy de la Garza Putegnat stated.
CACCWC specializes in conducting recorded forensic interviews to eliminate the need of multiple interviews, which helps avoid causing further trauma and revictimization of the child.
The organization utilizes a multidisciplinary team approach that includes — Child Protective Services, local law enforcement agencies, the District Attorney’s Office, medical professionals, therapists and community advocates.
In 2019, the CACCWC served more than 4,700 child abuse victims and their family members.
“For several years we’ve been searching for a new location that would allow us the space to grow our team and keep up with the demand for services,” Putegnat stated. “While we will soon be launching a capital campaign to raise funds to build a new center, we needed a quicker solution.”
During the pandemic, the organization developed tele-health services and provides tele-forensic interviewing and tele-therapy.
Additionally, a new parent support group is being offered in collaboration with the UTRGV School of Social Work Graduate Program through tele-health.
For CACCWC personnel, VBMC-Harlingen’s contribution was the answer to their prayers.
“On behalf of the CACCWC, I’d like to thank Manny Vela for his great leadership and for being a champion of our mission, the Child to Adult Abuse Response Team for their critical services and compassionate care for child and adult victims of abuse, neglect, and sexual assault and the entire VBMC-Harlingen team for their incredible generosity and support,” Putegnat stated.
For more information about CACCWC or to watch the opening ceremony, visit www.facebook.com/caccwc .