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Commissioners Court approved $75,000 in funding for the county's only live-in emergency shelter for abused children.
Although not officially opened, Safe Haven for Kids has been providing services since February, said Founder and Executive Director Angela Ridling.
"Thank you for allowing us to provide services to children in Hidalgo; so far this year there have been 469 children removed from their homes in the county," said Safe Haven for kids Executive Director Angela Ridling. "Our goal is to expand and build additional cottages to house more children in the near future."
The funding, which comes from unclaimed property monies provided to the county from the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, will allow Safe Haven for Kids to officially open its doors in early 2019 and provide a much-needed service in a therapeutic, home-like environment in which children can thrive and be safe from trauma.
"A few months ago when you first introduced yourself to Commissioners Court, we were all in agreement to help this facility open its doors," said Pct. 3 Commissioner Joe M. Flores.
Child abuse, neglect or abandonment is recognized as a significant problem nationwide. In Hidalgo County, there is an average of 45 children being removed from their homes every month. In fact, of the 254 counties in Texas, Hidalgo County ranks seventh in child abuse cases.
"This is a monumental day for Hidalgo County," said Pct. 2 Commissioner Eduardo "Eddie" Cantu. "This is the type of shelter services that we have been lacking for abused and neglected children and the first of its kind in the county; it's a tremendous step forward."
Children are often taken to shelters in San Antonio, Corpus Christi or Laredo, or often spend many nights at CPS offices, Ridling said.
The Safe Haven shelter is set on 2.5 acres outside the city limits of Alamo.
"Once we're officially open, children will be able to stay up to 60 days, and this will allow CPS to take their time in placing children with the right fit," said Ridling.
"We all recognize the immense amount of spirit and sacrifice you've made to help children in need," said Pct. 1 Commissioner David Fuentes.
An official check presentation will be held at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 19 at Safe Haven, located at 1700 N. Alamo Rd. in Alamo.