History and Guiding Principles of Austin Children’s Shelter

History of the Shelter
1984 – A group of concerned citizens joined together to do something about the lack of shelter space for abused and neglected children in Austin and Travis County; thus the Austin-Travis County Shelter for Infants and Children was born. The new shelter was able to house six young children at a time.

1986 – The Shelter was moved to a larger location in Central Austin, enabling the program to shelter 10 children at a time.

1989 – Another move allowed the Shelter to care for up to 15 children and the agency changed its name to Children’s Shelter and Assessment Center of Texas.

1993 – A clinical assessment program was added to provide an initial assessment, and when needed, a comprehensive assessment of every child in the Shelter’s care.

1998 – A second shelter home was opened next door to the existing home, enabling the agency to care for 30 children at a time. The name was changed to the Austin Children’s Shelter.

2001 – Established an in-house medical program to provide medical care and exams for children at Austin Children’s Shelter.

2003 – Dick and Sara Rathgeber donated 13 acres of land in East Austin for an expansion.

2008 – Broke ground on a new campus.

2009 – Austin Children’s Shelter celebrated its 25th anniversary and held a grand opening of the new facilities including five cottages and with the capacity to care for up to 78 children.

2009 – People’s Community Clinic began to provide an in-house medical program.

2010 – The Teen Parent and Transitional Living programs were added.

2012 – Austin Children’s Shelter and SafePlace founded the LIFT Alliance; Austin Children’s Shelter youth began attending the Kozmetsky School on the SafePlace campus.

2013 – Austin Children’s Shelter is licensed as a child placement agency and begins Foster in Austin in July 2013; implementation begins for a Child Development and Family Resource Center.

2013 – Strong Start, a child abuse prevention agency, merges with Austin Children’s Shelter to become a program of Austin Children’s Shelter.

2014 – Austin Children’s Shelter opens Care Academy on its campus in Rathgeber Village, a child development and family resource center.

2014 – Name changes to Austin Children’s Services to reflect the diverse programs aimed at providing a broader spectrum of services for children and famillies. Austin Children’s Shelter continues as a program of Austin Children’s Services.

2015 – Name returns to Austin Children’s Shelter. Austin Children’s Shelter and SafePlace become founding partners of SAFE | Stop Abuse For Everyone. LIFT Alliance namesake is dissolved.

2016 – The Boards of Directors of SAFE, ACS, and SafePlace vote to fully merge into SAFE, effective Jan. 1, 2017.

2017 – The full merger of ACS and SafePlace into SAFE takes effect on Jan. 1. Learn more here.

Guiding Principles
Safety: We believe that everyone deserves to feel safe and protected. We strive to ensure the mental, emotional and physical safety of all individuals associated with the Austin Children’s Services including clients, staff and volunteers.

Survivor Centered: We believe in the knowledge that survivors of trauma bring to their own lives and healing. We believe in trauma-informed care, compassionate healing, and the power of “teachable moments”

Loving, Nurturing and Fun: We believe in the power of caring and of play – for clients, staff, volunteers and community. We will celebrate, grieve, care and honor with and for our clients, staff, volunteers, donors, partners and the community.

Excellence: We will provide the highest quality service to our clients, colleagues and the community every day. We are deeply committed to the work we do, the people we serve and to our mission. We are solution focused and always strive toward excellence in all aspects of our work.

Integrity: We hold ourselves to the highest ethical standards and level of accountability.

Respect and Dignity: We believe in treating every individual with respect and dignity – always. We communicate openly and honestly, we listen and we value others’ views, practices and differences.

Culturally Competent: We value the strength and wisdom that come from all voices and embrace the complexities of communities. We strive, whenever possible, to make the Austin Children’s Services welcoming of all individuals, inclusive of all races, religions, national origins, socio-economic status and sexual orientations.

Collaboration: We believe in the transformative power of collective efforts. We recognize that it truly does “take a village” and are committed to working collaboratively with both internal and external partners to achieve our mission.

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