By Cody Thompson

Messenger Reporter

CROCKETT –  Local children’s advocacy center Kalin’s Center will consolidate its two buildings and move to a new location in the near future, thanks to a grant and the generosity of local supporters.

The center serves, which serves both Houston and Trinity counties, was awarded a grant from the T.L.L. Temple Foundation in Lufkin to fund the building of a new center.

Crockett residents Barbara Beeler and G.W. Beeler III donated the property where the new center will be built, located at 201 Renaissance Way.

“This has been a dream of mine for over 10 years to build a new, larger, more comprehensive building to house the Kalin’s Center staff, as well as other members of our partner agencies,” Kalin’s Center executive director Debbie McCall said. “This new facility will be a huge asset to our rural communities and will facilitate better investigations, services and outcomes for the children and families we serve.”

Kalin’s Center serves as a haven for children who have been victimized sexually and/or physically to tell their story, which is then used by law enforcement, courts and defense attorneys to keep the children from having to repeat their personal tragedy, a Kalin’s Center press release stated.

The center also offers counseling services to the victims and any non-offending family members, the press release said.

“The counseling service is referred out at this time,” the press release said, “but with the new center we (Kalin’s Center) will be able to provide the much needed service in house.”

The design for the new center was designed, after consulting with its partner agencies, to include offices, interview rooms, bedrooms, family rooms, counseling and play therapy rooms to facilitate the needs of victims, the press release stated.

“This is a huge opportunity for Kalin’s Center to bring all of these services to children under one roof,” the press release said. “This will dramatically increase the ease of accessing services for the clients served and will also allow for daily, ongoing communication and cooperation between the multi-disciplinary team members.”

Families will be able to come to one location for forensic and family interviews, counseling and anything else the victims need, according to the press release.

“These services are currently available, but in multiple locations, most requiring significant travel or time to access, causing hardships for families needing these services,” the press release said. “Kalin’s Center will be a ‘one stop shop’ for these families and will expedite the process for all parties involved.”

The plans for the new center also include multiple bedrooms for overnight accomodation.

“Several times these children must be removed from their homes because, unfortunately, they reside with the perpetrator,” the press release said. “The children will have a comfortable, private setting with a bed, access to a shower, kitchenette, washing machine and dryer.”

Along with the bedrooms, there will be office space for around-the-clock staff members, as well as an office for law enforcement officers to conduct interviews on-site, the press release stated.

“(Crocket Police Department) detectives have to take victims of sexual abuse to our local child advocacy center for forensic interviews, then to Lufkin for sexual assault exams at another CAC that offers that service,” CPD chief and Kalin’s Center board member David Cross said. “With the new center, we will be able to get both of these required investigative services done locally, making the victims more comfortable and making the experience less traumatic for the victims and their families.”

Building of the new center is scheduled to begin in April.

“I am excited about the new center because it will help ease this most difficult time in a child’s life,” Trinity County district attorney and Kalin’s Center board member Bennie Schiro said. “Unfortunately, it is an ongoing process with us (DA) and the children who suffer abuse and the familiarity with the Kalin’s Center’s staff will help begin the healing process.”

Cody Thompson may be reached via e-mail at cthompson@messenger-news.com.