Child Protective Services strips about 200 Coryell County children from their homes every year to get the kids away from a life filled with abuse and neglect. The biggest challenge the county faces today is drugs, said Gloria Schmitz, Coryell County Rainbow Room chairperson.
The Rainbow Room does its best to keep the kids with a family member to help the youth go through a smoother transition during the process.
“Because if the child ages out, then the chances are they will be back out on the streets and get involved in prostitution or maybe drugs,” she said.
Schmitz helped kick off the Rainbow Room in 2004.
“When I came to ask the Coryell County CPS to see their Rainbow Room they showed me a closet that had a couple cans of baby formula and a stack of diapers and that was all they had,” she said. “So we basically started from scratch.”
The organization distributes more than 1,000 items a year, including clothing, diapers and beds, to kids who are victims of child abuse and neglect.
“Many times children are picked up with just the clothes on their backs,” she said.
“It is a place where the children can pick up the things they need at the time because they come from horrific situations.”
Schmitz said it takes a lot of talking with a child to help them cope with the life changes, as most worry about going back to live with their parents.
“They go with an adult that they don’t know and they are scared,” she said. “So we try to have comfort things like clothes and blankets. Anything that makes them feel secure, like a teddy bear, goes a long way with a scared child.”
The emergency resource center is available 24 hours a day and work with CPS to ensure the children are well cared for. The organization recently received a $1,000 award from the Noon Exchange Club of Copperas Cove for the services they provide in the community.
“It’s very gratifying to help a child in need,” Schmitz said.