WAXAHACHIE

A national report ranks Texas 43rd for children’s well-being. One agency founded in Waxahachie, Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services, is working to change that.

The Annie C. Casey Foundation publishes "Kids Count," which measures trends in education, economic well-being, health and family and community factors. In the last category, the state ranks 47th.

PCHAS Vice President Robert Giegling notes that Texas had 66,706 confirmed cases of child abuse or neglect in 2015, which was the most recent data available.

“In the same year, 19,191 Texas kids entered or re-entered state custody,” Giegling said. “We manage foster care cases, and we have preventative programs to keep kids from ever entering the state system.”

The Presbyterian agency began as an orphanage more than 100 years ago. It evolved to provide foster care and adoption services as well as transitional living services for teenagers aging out of foster care. Today, it offers those services in Waxahachie as well as early-intervention programs, such as family counseling and a single-parent program that develops self-sufficiency.

Giegling notes that Texas ties for 9th in the number of children with one or more emotional, behavioral or developmental conditions: 1,174,462 Texas children have been diagnosed with autism, developmental delays or depression.

“There continues to be a high demand for in-home counseling and foster care,“ he explained.

For information, visit pchas.org, write info@pchas.org or call 800-888-1903.