Bridgehaven Children’s Advocacy Center in Dayton has taken the first step in working toward a new headquarters in Dayton with the donation of five-acre tract of land from Ann Rogers of Liberty. The future facility will be located on the 3100 block of FM 1960 West.
“I am a big advocate of Bridgehaven Children’s Advocacy Center,” said Rogers, when asked why she made the donation. “Right now the staff is spread out between two offices and they need to be together under one roof.”
Bridgehaven CAC, which serves Liberty and Chambers counties, is an organization that works with child victims of physical, sexual and emotional abuse. Bridgehaven CAC fosters relationships with the child victims so can relate their experiences in a safe environment. In Bridgehaven CAC’s interview process, which is coordinated with law enforcement and other governmental entities, children can tell their stories once and not have to repeat and relive the experience again and again.
As the population of Liberty County continues to grow so does the need for Bridgehaven CAC’s services, said Operations Director Rachel Ansley. Currently, Bridgehaven CAC serves around 2,000 children per year with staff conducting forensic interviews numbering in the high 300s each year.
“Unfortunately the need is growing by leaps and bounds. Ms. Ann [Rogers] has always been a strong advocate for our center. Being on our board of directors, she sees first-hand our needs,” Ansley said.
Bridgehaven CAC Director Paula Torres echoed that sentiment, adding, “With the new building, we will be able to expand and hire more staff, and everyone will be under one roof.”
As for the scope and size of the project, Torres said that has yet to be determined.
“We are early on in the design process. We want to be able to keep some of the wooded area in the back of the property so that we can have a children’s playground area. We want to make it as serene as possible, not only for the clients, but for the staff and team members who are working these hard cases every day,” Torres said.
Ansley said one goal for the new building is to make it suitable for the agency’s partners.
“We don’t just have our staff at our office. We house law enforcement with us. With the building being a lot bigger, we will be able to have more of our partner agencies with us,” she said.
The future facility for Bridgehaven CAC is still in the planning and design stages. Torres said they first must find funding resources to move forward.
“We are going to have a capital campaign and will be going to businesses, community foundations and organizations, and seeking grant funding to raise the money needed for the new building. It will be a few years in the making, but we are going in the right direction with the donation of this land,” Torres said.