Month: April 2021

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

ACH raises awareness of child abuse and neglect in Tarrant County


FORT WORTH, Texas (March 23, 2021) – Each April, ACH joins other organizations throughout the country to participate in Child Abuse Prevention Month, which calls attention to the trauma and long-term impact of child abuse and neglect.

Tarrant County has among the highest numbers of confirmed child abuse and neglect cases of any county in Texas, with 6,202 confirmed victims in 2020 alone. More than their peers, childhood victims of abuse and neglect are likely to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), to become homeless and to end up in the criminal justice system. The cost of being denied a normal childhood is immeasurable. But the impact on the American society is not without cost, as the annual cost of lost worker productivity alone exceeds an estimated $65 billion.

As a thought leader in child abuse prevention, ACH is committed to partnering with organizations, corporations and individuals to raise public awareness of child abuse and to bring about needed change in our community.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, factors like heightened stress, school closures, loss of income and social isolation resulting from the pandemic increase the risk for child abuse and neglect. The CDC is also concerned that victims might not receive the care they need and that the severity of their injuries might have worsened. They recommend that strategies to prevent child abuse and neglect are important, particularly during public health emergencies.

We at ACH believe that attacking this issue on a grass-roots level will lead to greater success in getting the public engaged in an issue that truly affects everyone. So, we will continue to share ideas and communicate key statistics to the public at large. Preventing and treating child abuse and neglect is everyone’s job. If you know a family who is struggling and needs support in parenting, call ACH at 817-335-4673. If someone suspects abuse and neglect, call the Texas Abuse Hotline at 1-800-252-5400.

To kick off Child Abuse Prevention Month, ACH is holding a virtual event from 12—1 p.m. on Thursday, April 8. This year’s 11th annual “Lend a Hand” event will feature Tia Magee, ACH’s Youth Emergency Shelter Manager and the focus of an upcoming Netflix original movie, ‘Redd Zone,’ and her son Brandon Magee, producer, and former professional athlete. They’ll be discussing Child Abuse Prevention Month and Tia’s experience helping youth in crisis.

How can you help bring attention to this issue? Wear blue on Friday, April 9 and post photos of yourself and your friends wearing blue to #SilenceEndsHere, #KidsCantWait, #WearBlueDay and #GoBlue.  All of us at ACH will be wearing blue, so you should, too.

To learn more about ACH Child and Family Services’ important efforts to battle child abuse and neglect, visit


About ACH

With more than a century of experience, ACH Child and Family Services, a Fort Worth-based nonprofit agency, brings needed resources and skills to children and families struggling with life’s challenges. Some of our 17 programs and services keep children and families together while others provide a healing home for children who can’t live with their families. Through the “Our Community Our Kids” division, ACH is leading the way in Community-Based Care in seven counties of the Texas foster care system. ACH has been accredited every year since 2003 by the Council on Accreditation and in 2018 Our Community Our Kids became nationally accredited. Our vision is for families to thrive and children to experience safety, hope and love. Learn more at

817.335.HOPE (4673)  |


Sprouts Celebrates One Year of Growth

“Last year, I started not knowing much about gardening, and when I leave the LIFE Project, I’ll have so much more knowledge in plant growth and growth within myself.”  —Melissa*

ACH Child and Family Services’ Sprouts Gardening Committee is celebrating one year of growth since beginning their journey in ACH’s garden in March of 2020. Despite a few challenges, the group is proud of the work they accomplished and has high hopes for the future.

“I am so excited for a new year to learn more,” said K, one of the young adults in Sprouts.

ACH’s LIFE (Learning Independence from Experience) Project is a program that builds self-confidence and self-sufficiency in young adults ages 18 to 21 who are homeless or are in extended foster care. Young adults are given guidance and support in developing life skills—such as applying to college, entering the workforce, and preparing to live independently.

At the start of the pandemic, young adults in ACH’s LIFE Project program created a volunteer initiative by founding the Sprouts Gardening Committee on our Wichita Street campus.

During such an uncertain time, gardening became a healthy, peaceful activity. For the young adults in our care—many of whom come from a life in foster care or homelessness, gardening brought healing and a sense of belonging, which was incredibly beneficial for them.

“I am excited that we are turning one year old because it shows the dedication to a project, especially during a really hard year both in the world and in everyone’s personal lives,” said Cassie Morgan, LIFE Mentor.

In November, the committee received the Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy award by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Fort Worth Metro Chapter. This award honored the more than 200 volunteer hours the committee spent in ACH’s garden.

Of all their accomplishments, the biggest blessing of the group was the new friendships that blossomed.

“I am excited because we still have our team together,” said Cole*, Sprouts member. “It’s the same people still sticking together, facing challenges we’ve never faced before.”

Melissa*, one of the young ladies in Sprouts, attributes gardening to helping her develop patience, something she struggled with before.

“I enjoyed watching the plants grow and change while learning more about myself as an individual,” said Melissa. “Last year, I started not knowing much about gardening, and when I leave the LIFE Project, I’ll have so much more knowledge in plant growth and growth within myself.”

The group also learned the hard work necessary for maintaining a garden.

“There is nothing cookie-cutter about gardening,” said Cassie. “We had to find what works best for us and our garden.”


Sprout’s first year was one for the books. They had some surprises, including the February Texas Winter Storm, which proved to be a valuable teaching moment for the committee.

The group, as with most Texans, was not prepared for such extreme weather. That week, they made their safety a priority and held out hope for the garden.

“We took care of ourselves instead of the plants,” said Cole. “It was frightening and scary, but had high hopes that the garden would survive, and it did… kind of.”

The group was sad to see some plants die but happy to see most of the plants hanging on. To be better prepared, the group formed a Weather Committee within Sprouts to track the local forecast in case of any extreme weather occurrences.


LIFE Mentor Cassie Morgan looks forward to another year of gardening.

Having recovered from the storm, the committee is focused on their surviving crops, which include sea kale, cabbage, rosemary, and some flowers.

“We are excited to grow more this year and build on the skills we learned last year,” said Cassie. “Every time we check on the plants, there is more new growth happening.”

With volunteerism at the heart of the committee, Sprouts would like to open the group up to members of the community who want to volunteer in the garden. The group is even working on creating a resource guide for those future members.

“When we opened the garden, it was kind of difficult,” said Melissa. “When new Sprouts members come in, we want them to know what to expect and how to care for the plants.”


For the garden to flourish, the Sprouts Gardening Committee needs a helping hand from our community. They are currently asking for in-kind donations that include seeds, plants, soil, and gardening tools. Most importantly, the group needs a wheelbarrow to help transport their supplies across campus.

If you would like to donate to the Sprouts Gardening Committee, click the button below. All donations must be new and unopened and through appointment only.


*Names have been changed for privacy purposes

Providing Hope

When one local father felt he had nowhere to turn for help for his daughter, ACH Child and Family Services provided the care and support they needed. 

Jeff* says his daughter, Jennifer*, was 17 when she began suffering from severe anxiety. While Jennifer especially struggled with new activities and even going to school each day, her family didn’t know how to help.

“What brought me to ACH was desperation,” Jeff says. “I needed to help my daughter.”   

Jennifer began free counseling through ACH’s Real Help for Real Life program, and Jeff recalls how the counselor was the perfect fit for his daughter from the start.

“They had sessions where they cried and sessions where they laughed,” Jeff says. “The counselor provided reports every time she met with Jennifer that gave us things we could do with our daughter.”

Today, Jennifer continues to practice the tools she learned through counseling at ACH. She graduated high school and is attending Texas A&M University.

“It was looking so bad and it just completely turned around for us,” Jeff says. “I feel like this was a lifesaver.”

Real Help for Real Life provides free youth and family counseling for ages 6-17 struggling with anxiety or depression, bullying, behavioral problems, and more. It’s offered online with bilingual sessions available in 5 counties. To schedule an appointment, call 817.335.4673.

*Names have been changed. 


April is Counseling Awareness Month

Did you know ACH’s Real Help for Real Life program is open to ACH & OCOK employees?

Real Help for Real Life provides help and support for youth and their families through Youth and Family Counseling and Skill-Building Classes.

Whether it’s anxiety, depression, conflict at home, bullying, anger issues, behavior problems, school attendance, or thoughts of running away—Real Help for Real Life is here and ready to help youth, ages 6 to 17, and their families by providing youth and family counseling and skill-building classes.

These services are provided at convenient locations in the following counties: Tarrant, Johnson, Parker, Hill, and Palo Pinto.

Call 817.336.HOPE (4673) to schedule an appointment.

Be sure to share these important resources with your clients, friends, and family!