Current Initiatives

Grantee: Garth House-Mickey Mehaffy Children’s Advocacy Program (Beaumont, TX)
Award Amount: $20,000
Total Project Budget: $101,197
Project Name: Capacity and Competency Building of the Multidisciplinary Team
Grantee Website: www.garthhouse.org

By implementing the project, "Capacity and Competency Building of Multidisciplinary Team,'' Garth House intends to address three priority areas.

  • The first of these is to increase the number of interviews that can be conducted by Garth House through the purchase of additional recording equipment and creation of a second interview room on Garth House's Beaumont property. These steps are being taken in response to a rapid increase in interviews since March 2018 and the resulting space and time constraints placed on the center's staff and investigative agencies.
  • The second priority is to provide relevant training and tools for Garth House's multidisciplinary team. Trainings will relate to trauma-informed care and implementation of a tool for identifying child victims of commercial sexual exploitation in the field and at other stages of an investigation, such as at the time of a Sexual Assault Nurse Exam (SANE) or forensic interview. Contract counselors serving rural counties will additionally benefit from training on Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) Applications with Commercially Sexually Exploited Children.
  • The third priority area establishes a facilitator for the center's newly developing commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) task force. The individual in this role will coordinate the establishment of a task force and the many administrative responsibilities that accompany project. Such activities may include preparing meeting agendas and presentations for initial onboarding of partners, drafting policies and memorandums of understanding for members, identifying key areas of need for each county and arranging appropriate training to meet those need, and cultivating relationships with other community service providers who may join the task force.

Grantee: Harris County Institute of Forensic Science
Award Amount: $119,129
Total Project Budget: $119,129
Project Title: Multidisciplinary Approach in Investigating Child Abuse: Is There Opportunity for Early Recognition and Prevention?
Grantee Website: https://ifs.harriscountytx.gov/Pages/default.aspx

During the investigation of pediatric cases (clinical or medicolegal), a broad range of information pertaining to the child, the family or caregivers, the environment in which the injury or death occurred, as well as circumstances surrounding the injury or death is obtained. How this information is obtained may affect the quality of the information provided by the family and the type of information recorded (e.g. medical history, home environment, infant care). There is currently insufficient guidance available for first responders, and medicolegal authorities with jurisdictions outside of Harris County regarding appropriate techniques for gathering this information from caretakers and family. Additionally, there is little data available comparing child fatalities investigated by a medical examiner’s office with previous interactions within the medical (clinical) system. Identifying trends between these populations may provide opportunities for intervention and prevention before the death of a child occurs.The HCIFS will undertake a multidisciplinary project to address child abuse through training and research focusing on child death investigators in Texas. The goal of this training is to provide instruction on proper child maltreatment investigations to practitioners in small and large jurisdictions to facilitate improved procedures. The research component of this proposal will address two goals/questions: to identify possible areas for interventions that may prevent the death of a child from abuse and to identify potential missed opportunities for intervention in antemortem medical care.


Grantee: Shaken Baby Alliance 
Award Amount: $19,996
Total Project Budget: $25,891
Project Name: The Forensic Investigation in Child Physical Abuse, Child Fatality & Child Neglect Cases – Making a Difference Together
Grantee Website: www.shakenbaby.org

Shaken Baby Alliance will hold two regional multidisciplinary stakeholder trainings. The first will be a two-day training in Maverick County and the second will be a one-day training in Montague County.

These trainings will enhance regional capacity by providing training for a coordinated response to allegations of child abuse/neglect and child death cases by the disciplines involved with these cases.  Attendees will leave with a strong foundation of the medical aspects of child abuse including mechanism of injury, timing of injuries, and the ability to compare the history with the injury.  Participants will receive instruction on how to utilize the 12 Elements of the Successful Forensic Investigation©.  Through a block of instruction entitled Tools You Can Use:  Resources for the MDT, these rural communities will be able to better leverage existing resources to develop strong legal cases.  Community collaboration will be built by the community stakeholders planning the training modules, attending training, and hosting a team building opportunity during or near the training date.


Grantee: Texas Legal Services Center
Award Amount: $100,000
Total Project Budget: $374,842
Project Name: Family Helpline
Grantee Website: http://www.tlsc.org/

The Family Helpline provides callers with free, quality, clear, legal information and education regarding Texas CPS legal issues. All services at the Family Helpline are provided by attorneys with significant experience in CPS cases. Providing callers with quality and correct legal information will allow individuals navigating the child welfare system to make more informed and thoughtful decisions regarding a child welfare legal matter. When a person can make a decision based on accurate legal information and not just fear or misinformation, families will be better equipped to make informed decisions regarding the children involved.