An $8 million remodel and expansion project—adding nearly 10,000 additional square feet of space—was recently completed at the building housing Child Advocates of Fort Bend, a nonprofit agency that serves children who have been sexually abused, physically abused and neglected.

The project's completion at the campus in Rosenberg was celebrated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony March 5.

"We undertook this project because we were overwhelmed by the influx of reports of child abuse in the past five years alone," CAFB CEO Ruthanne Mefford said during the ceremony. "The number of kids we serve has increased by 53%, and it keeps increasing every year."

Mefford said as a result of the increased need for care, children were being wait-listed before they could receive therapy.

"We have people standing in line to be able to get help, and our board and the community said, 'Not in Fort Bend County. We cannot have that; we have to have every child get the help they need,'" Mefford said.

The renovated campus—now named the Davis George Campus—is named in honor of the George family, whose infant son, Davis, died at a young age. Albert and Mamie George established The George Foundation in Fort Bend in 1945 to aid local nonprofits and provide scholarships.

The expansion grew the site from its original 18,000 square feet to over 27,000 square feet, according to a press release. The expanded campus will allow the agency to hire more staff; train more volunteers; add and equip therapy and interview rooms; and provide family meeting rooms and offices for its multidisciplinary team partners to further strengthen the collaborative, best-practice model that has served the children of Fort Bend County over the years, the release said.

CAFB served more than 2,690 children in 2019 and expects the number of children and families in need of help to double in the next five years, according to the release.

"We clearly needed more room, but not just room," Mefford said. "We had an amazing opportunity to create a space that would be healing from the minute a child walks in the door."

The overall design concept is rooted in research that points to the physical, mental and emotional health benefits of nature, the release stated. With this focus, the 9,000-square-foot expansion of the facility was thoughtfully placed to maintain two large trees and form two courtyards to provide respite for visitors and staff. One courtyard features an outdoor butterfly garden for the children and greenspace for staff and visitors, the release stated.

"I have had the unbelievable privilege to be very involved in this project," said Nancy Olson, CAFB board member and capital campaign chair, during the ceremony. "To see it come to fruition is just a dream come true. And we know that we will be helping thousands and thousands of children going forward."

To raise money for the project, the nonprofit launched its For The Children's Sake Capital Campaign in late 2018. To kick off the campaign, The George Foundation donated $2 million.

CAFB has served over 17,000 children since opening its doors 29 years ago.

"After 29 years, it's amazing to see that we have now come to a place that is going to be able to treat and help and provide a voice for children not only today but going forward and for generations to come in our new Davis George campus," Mefford said.