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Childsafe Center Provides Support for Abused Children, Faces Financial Cuts


If ChildSafe operated completely on heart and soul, this organization would be rich, but money keeps this non-profit alive, and allows them to help local children.

"If we have to cut our budget, that means we have to serve less children, and we're already not serving enough children," said ChildSafe San Antonio CEO Kim Abernethy.

Severe cuts at the state level may remove 57 percent of the funding to the center that specializes in child neglect, and physical and sexual abuse. That's just not good, said Abernethy, when statistics in Bexar County show that one-in-four girls, and one-in-six boys, will be sexually abused before they're 18 years old.

Mel Anderson, a survivor of childhood sexual and physical abuse, said she was finally able to break the cycle of abuse, but not before 18 years of suffering at the hands of her parents.

"I just remember abuse and starvation and sexual abuse, and watching my little brother tortured. There was no normalcy in it," said Anderson who goes by Mel, and not Melissa, because she wants to go by the name her brother has given her for her identity; Melissa is her given name by her parents.

Anderson now has children of her own, and said she never could imagine abusing her kids.

"They just laugh and play in a way that I never knew how to," said Anderson of her children.

Anderson joined the ChildSafe Board of Directors because she wants to reach out to those who may not be as fortunate as she was.

Private support from people, corporate support from businesses and volunteers like Anderson could help ChildSafe reach even more children in need. Anderson said that although her childhood was robbed, she wants something to show for it.

"My goal is to be 80 years old and think finally that those first 18 years, that the heinous abuse those first 18 years was worth the healing that happened to other children for it. I want it to be worth it," said Anderson.

More information online at: www.childsafe-sa.org

Ryan Loyd was Texas Public Radio's city beat and political reporter. He left the organization in December, 2014.