As many as 300 local children are helped each year by the Coryell County Child Welfare Board.
“Texas children are this state’s most precious resource, and we must protect them,” said Jean Firth, a welfare board member.
The nonprofit was established in the early 1990s in Gatesville. Its mission is to provide emergency funds to support children in the care of Coryell County Child Protective Services.
Board members are appointed by Coryell County commissioners and consist of volunteers who work with CPS to identify children in need.
Some funding for the group is appropriated by the commissioners court, but most funds are donated by private benefactors, businesses and civic organizations.
The nonprofit helps children in many ways.
In April, the board launches a campaign in connection with Child Abuse Awareness Month. The campaign is one of several prevention programs the board believes is critical for child safety.
In August, the board buys about 100 backpacks with school supplies and distributes them to Gatesville and Copperas Cove children in foster care.
The program children most likely appreciate begins in November, Firth said. The board receives a list from Child Protective Services with the names of about 220 children who likely won’t receive any Christmas gifts.
Welfare board members secure community sponsors for each child with a merry Christmas.
“We have always had an overwhelming response from the community, and no child has ever gone without their list fulfilled,” said Kathy Lee, past president and a member of the organization.
Throughout the year, the Coryell County Child Welfare Board receives a number of requests for clothing, beds, baby strollers, school supplies, birth certificates, identification cards and drivers licenses.
“The children we serve have extremely limited sources of funds to pay for such things,” Lee said.
The board also provides funds for parenting classes and for developmental and fun activities for children, such as summer camps and swimming lessons.
Firth said an average of 176 Texas children are victims of abuse every day, with about four children dying from such abuse every week. Last year, 64,366 children were abused in Texas.