Child Advocates of Fort Bend saw 20% increase in case interviews in March 2020 versus March 2019

As the coronavirus pandemic persists throughout the world, one unfortunate side effect is that child abuse cases are on the rise. (Beth Marshall/Community Impact Newspaper)
As the coronavirus pandemic persists throughout the world, one unfortunate side effect is that child abuse cases are on the rise. (Beth Marshall/Community Impact Newspaper)

As the coronavirus pandemic persists throughout the world, one unfortunate side effect is that child abuse cases are on the rise. (Beth Marshall/Community Impact Newspaper)

As the coronavirus pandemic persists throughout the world, one unfortunate side effect is child abuse cases are on the rise.

Child Advocates of Fort Bend has seen a 20% increase in forensic interviews in March 2020, when social distancing mandates began, as compared March 2019, according to an April 27 press release from the nonprofit.

In early March, the agency hosted a grand opening at its expanded building in Rosenberg, which doubled its capacity to provide services to children. This expansion project was in response to a 53% increase in the last four years in the number children who have been abused or neglected and received services, according to the release.

“Fortunately for the children of Fort Bend County, we are better equipped to handle both the challenges of providing services digitally and the spike in the need for services than we were even a year ago,” CAFB CEO Ruthanne Mefford said in the release. “Our renovation included digital upgrades that have allowed our staff to more easily shift to working digitally, and we have both the space and the staff to meet the increased need."

As an essential services business, CAFB is remaining vigilant during the coronavirus outbreak. The agency has put measures into effect to continue providing services for children and families in the safest way possible, the release said. Forensic interviews are still being conducted on-site one at a time as a way to practice social distancing. Staff is also on call in the evenings and on weekends, and therapists have been conducting distance therapy sessions.


Although CAFB increased its capacity to serve, due to social distancing orders, the agency is currently unable to host several fundraising events, Mefford said.

"Much like [with] Hurricane Harvey, we expect that we will see a dramatic spike in reports once children return to school,” Mefford said in the release. “Because physical distancing mandates have forced us to cancel and reschedule several fundraising events, we are now facing both an increase in need and a shortage of funding.”

To help bridge this gap, CAFB is seeking additional funding from the community to continue providing service to children in need, the release stated. CAFB posted a challenge on Facebook to help raise $10,000 to fund their programs. To participate, go to their Facebook page or donate online at https://www.cafb.org/donate/.
By Beth Marshall
Born and raised in Montgomery County, Beth Marshall graduated from The University of Texas at San Antonio in 2015 with a bachelor's degree in communication and a minor in business. Originally hired as a reporter for The Woodlands edition in 2016, she became editor of the Sugar Land/Missouri City edition in October 2017.


MOST RECENT

According to the county, Fort Bend is the No. 1 per capita fully-vaccinated county jurisdiction in the state with 51.54% of residents recorded. (Courtesy UH College of Nursing)
Fort Bend leads Texas in vaccination efforts according to state data, county says

According to the county, Fort Bend is the No. 1 per capita fully-vaccinated county jurisdiction in the state with 51.54% of residents recorded.

Imperio Wine & Spirits sells a variety of liquor, beer, wine and spirits. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Imperio Wine & Spirits opens in Katy; Montgomery Chick-fil-A to open dining room and more Houston-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Greater Houston area.

The Fort Bend Children’s Discovery Center will open for the summer on June 8. (Courtesy Fort Bend Children's Discovery Center)
Ahead of June reopening, Fort Bend Children's Discovery Center celebrates 5th anniversary

The Fort Bend Children’s Discovery Center will open for the summer on June 8.

On April 2, New Strength Pilates moved to a larger location on Riverstone Boulevard in Missouri City. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
New Strength Pilates relocates to larger Missouri City studio

The Missouri City business of 16 years offers private sessions and group classes that help clients become pain free.

See how some Greater Houston area school districts are planning to go back to school for the 2021-22 academic year. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
See how some Greater Houston area school districts are planning to go back to school for the 2021-22 academic year

While some school districts in the Greater Houston area are doing away with face mask requirements and virtual schooling completely, others are pivoting to continue offering online learning options for students and plan to require face masks.

masks
CDC ends all mask requirements for fully vaccinated people

The guidance states fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks indoors or outdoors.

Hwy. 36A has not been approved as a project, so the route of the road has not been decided. However, this map shows the study area for the road. (Courtesy Highway 36A Coalition)
TxDOT, advocacy group look at feasibility of Hwy. 36A corridor through Brazoria, Fort Bend, Waller counties

The Highway 36A Coalition is hoping to get the road placed on HGAC's 2045 Regional Transportation Plan.

House Bill 1024, signed into law May 12, allows restaurants and bars to permanently sell alcoholic beverages to-go. (Courtesy Pexels)
Cocktails to-go are here to stay in Texas: Gov. Greg Abbott signs change into law May 12

Supporters say the change will help restaurants continue to recover from the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Applications will open May 17 for small businesses seeking monetary relief through Fort Bend County's small business emergency grant program because of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo courtesy Pexels)
New funding available soon for small businesses hit by COVID-19 in Fort Bend County

Small businesses in Fort Bend County that have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic can soon apply for up to $25,000 in relief due to new funding made available by the county.

3323 Oaklawn Place Drive, a 1,804-square-foot house in Olympia Estates, sold for between $185,001-$215,000 on Jan. 30. (Courtesy Houston Association of Realtors)
Median price of homes sold increased across Sugar Land, Missouri City year over year in March

Find recent real estate trends, plus information on the Missouri City neighborhood Olympia Estates here.

Dry Eye & Specialty Center opened April 22 in Sugar Land. (Courtesy Pexels)
Dry Eye & Specialty Center opens on University Boulevard in Sugar Land

The practice offers optometry services such as routine exams as well as treatment for eye diseases and other causes of dry and itchy eyes.