Regional nonprofit sees rising number of child abuse cases in Frisco as well as Denton, Wise counties

Kristen Howell, CEO of Children’s Advocacy Center for North Texas, was among the representatives from five nonprofits on March 30 seeking grant funds from the Frisco Social Services and Housing Board. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Kristen Howell, CEO of Children’s Advocacy Center for North Texas, was among the representatives from five nonprofits on March 30 seeking grant funds from the Frisco Social Services and Housing Board. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Kristen Howell, CEO of Children’s Advocacy Center for North Texas, was among the representatives from five nonprofits on March 30 seeking grant funds from the Frisco Social Services and Housing Board. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

A nonprofit serving children in Denton and Wise counties and including Frisco recorded a 32% increase in the number of child abuse cases last year compared with 2020.

Kristen Howell, CEO of Children’s Advocacy Center for North Texas, was among the representatives from five nonprofits on March 30 seeking grant funds from the Frisco Social Services and Housing Board.

Each year, the board hears presentations from several organizations as part of a grant application process for nonprofits serving the city. Community Development Manager Rebecca Barton said just under $400,000 will be distributed in October following approval by Frisco City Council in August or September.

Howell’s organization works with local police departments and Child Protective Services to assist criminal investigations and to provide free medical exams and therapy sessions to children, according to the nonprofit's website.

In 2021, Children’s Advocacy Center for North Texas processed 2,403 cases that included a felony offense involving children, up from 1,818 in 2020.


A total of 115 children in Frisco were seen by the nonprofit last year, according to Howell, up from 98 in 2020. On average, each child received seven different services, such as medical exams and therapy sessions, from Children’s Advocacy Center for North Texas.

Howell said her organization expects to serve 131 Frisco children this year, and that the COVID-19 pandemic has made abuse cases more prevalent.

“The impact of this is lifelong, and the mental health issues are very significant,” Howell said. “Our kids took the brunt of this terrible virus and [were] trapped in homes with folks who were really stressed.”

Children’s Advocacy Center for North Texas requested $48,875 from the Social Services and Housing Board. In total, Howell said it costs about $200,000 each year to serve Frisco residents, and that the nonprofit asks for roughly 25% of costs from all cities it serves.

“We come to you every year and ask you for your fair share,” Howell said. “This is a piece of that fair-share conversation we have every year.”

More information on the nonprofit can be found at www.cacnorthtexas.org
By Matt Payne
Matt Payne reports on Frisco City Hall and its committees, Collin County Commissioners and McKinney business. His experience includes serving as online content editor at Fort Worth Magazine and city editor at the Killeen Daily Herald. He is a 2017 graduate of the Frank W. and Sue Mayborn School of Journalism at the University of North Texas in Denton.