New National Documentary Showcases The Center for Child Protection and The Children’s Advocacy Center Model in Texas as Best in the Nation

Join Us in Advocating for Victims of Child Abuse at a Special Showing of “When the Bough Breaks,” a Documentary Focused on The Center for Child Protection in Austin, Texas


Austin, Texas — The Children’s Advocacy Centers of Texas, the Center for Child Protection and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) are teaming up to launch a new national documentary, focusing on child abuse, with a special screening of the documentary “When the Bough Breaks” at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center at 1900 University Avenue, in Austin on Monday, October 17 at 6:30 p.m.

“When the Bough Breaks,” narrated by actor Sam Waterston of NBC-TV’s “Law & Order” and told by the Visionaries, a prestigious documentary program in its 17th season, presents an emotional story about child abuse, a silent epidemic in Texas and across America.

“We believe this documentary, “When the Bough Breaks,“ is an unprecedented vehicle that can change how society looks at child abuse. This documentary takes viewers behind the scenes for a never-before-seen glimpse into a child abuse investigation utilizing the children’s advocacy center model, “ said Joy Hughes Rauls, Executive Director of the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Texas. “We want the public to understand how law enforcement, caseworkers, prosecutors and medical professionals work together with the Center to protect children and most importantly, we want to protect children from sexual abuse through the empowerment of an informed, engaged public.”

The documentary focuses on the Center for Child Protection in Austin, one of 65 children’s advocacy centers in Texas. Texas leads the nation in the number of operating children’s advocacy centers, serving our state’s most vulnerable population, including child victims of sexual and physical abuse and child witnesses to violent crime.

Rachel Strong is a foster mother who adopted a child who received hope and healing through the Center for Child Protection. Rachel is featured in the documentary. Rachel adopted a six-year old little girl who suffered from chronic neglect and severe physical and sexual abuse. She could not speak at the age of six when Rachel took her to the center to get help. The Center used Sydney, a beautiful golden retriever for animal assisted therapy and eventually, she connected with the dog and touched Sydney when she wasn’t able to touch a human being. Sydney was able to bridge the gap, so she could eventually touch her mother.

“When I came to the Center for Child Protection, I had a foster daughter who came to me wearing a 3-T. The reason she was wearing a 3-T, is that she had been neglected so badly from infancy that her body had not been nourished at all. She was operating emotionally, pretty close to a newborn. She was 6 years old,” said Rachel Strong.” Horrible abuse had happened to her. She wasn’t able to speak or be touched. She now hugs me and tells me she loves me and she could not even talk at the age of six. That is why the Center for Child Protection is so important to help heal children like my daughter.“

The Center for Child Protection provided life saving services for Rachel’s daughter. One of the best days of her life was one day at the center when they asked her daughter to do art about herself and when she was finished the artwork, it was a picture and it said, “My heart is alive.”

“As the largest health insurer in Texas, we are strongly committed to improving children’s health,” says Darren Rodgers, president, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas. “We understand the long-term health implications of adverse childhood experiences and we are proud to partner with the Children’s Advocacy Centers to help improve the lives of abused children across our state. “

“I am particularly pleased that this documentary finally demonstrates the enormous progress we’ve made in the investigation of child sexual abuse, serious physical abuse and young witnesses to violence,” said Sandra Martin, CEO of the Center for Child Protection. “The children’s advocacy center model offers access to justice for children and a deep collaboration of the best of community and our partner agencies.”

Before today is over, three children in the United States will die from abuse – at least one of them will be a baby. Texas leads the nation in child deaths. A statewide increase in child abuse and neglect-related deaths resulted in 280 fatalities last fiscal year, a 31 percent increase compared to the previous fiscal year and the highest since the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services began keeping records in 1998.

“Before the Center for Child Protection was formed, any child who came into the system had to go to each agency to talk about the abuse and often had to repeat the details over and over again to the police, the district attorney, social workers and others in the system,” said Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg. “With the Center for Child Protection—everyone works together and the child only had to repeat the horror on time. This innovative approach helps us protect the child and allows us to make better cases.”

Last year almost 40,000 child victims received critical services at a children’s advocacy center in Texas. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas is the underwriter of this documentary.

Texas State Senator Kirk Watson will be the keynote speaker. A panel discussion will follow the screening featuring:

  • Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg
  • Dr. Edwardo Sanchez, Chief Medical Officer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas
  • Dr. George Edwards, Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas
  • Commander Julie O’Brien, Austin Police Department
  • Bill Mosher, Executive Producer of Visionaries
  • Cyndi Cantu, Director of Forensic Services at the Center for Child Protection


Children’s Advocacy Centers of Texas, Inc. (CACTX) is the statewide membership association of all local children’s advocacy centers (CACs) in Texas. Today, there are 65 local CACs serving 162 counties across the state and providing hope, healing and justice to child victims of abuse.

These local children’s advocacy centers provide a safe, child-friendly approach to the investigation, prosecution and treatment of crimes against children CACs represent formalized partnerships with law enforcement, child protective services, prosecutors, medical and mental health professionals and others who agree to work together to effectively investigate child abuse cases and coordinate the delivery of vital services to child abuse victims and their families.

CACTX’s member centers reflect the vast diversity of Texas, all with their own unique approaches to fulfilling our shared mission of protecting and providing for children. To learn more, please visit:

The Center for Child Protection’s mission is to reduce the trauma for children during the investigation and prosecution of child abuse cases.

The Center for Child Protection, a nationally accredited children’s advocacy center, is the first stop for children in Travis County who are suspected victims of sexual abuse, physical abuse, neglect and for children who have witnessed a violent crime. The Center is a child-friendly, specially-equipped facility where children go for recorded forensic interviews, medical exams, counseling and intervention during the investigation and prosecution of child abuse cases. It is the only nonprofit in Travis County involved in the investigation of crimes against children. All services are provided to children and their protective caregivers at no charge and most are available in English and Spanish.

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX)

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas — the only statewide, customer-owned health insurer in Texas — is the largest provider of health benefits in the state, working with nearly 40,000 physicians and 400 hospitals to serve 4.6 million members in all 254 counties. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas is a Division of Health Care Service Corporation (which operates Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in Texas, Illinois, Oklahoma and New Mexico, the country’s largest customer-owned health insurer overall. Health Care Service Corporation is a Mutual Legal Reserve Company and in independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.