Among the purposes of the Child Welfare Board (CWB) is to help the children who are removed from their homes by child protective services. This is done by providing extra services that are needed by the children that the state does not pay for. There is a budget provided by the county each year of $2,500. This money is used to help provide clothes during school time, if a request is made, to help foster families with Christmas items and to send each child a monetary gift in a birthday card. The amount of the gift depends on the age of the child. Older children receive more than younger ones. An important note is that the money received from the county has to be spent on the children in care.The board is overseen by the Commissioners Court and all those who serve are appointed by that Court. Board members are trained on open government practices and procedures and also sign a confidentiality agreement that names of children in care will not be discussed. The board goes into closed session to discuss these children and are bound by the law to observe this respect for families involved.The San Saba County child welfare board at present consists of ten members: Charlotte Spence, Elsie Milligan, Louise Oswald, Maria Guerrero, David Williams, Santos Arrendondo all from San Saba; Kathy Brockman from Richland Springs; Esther Cox, Michael Murray and Doug Suggs from Cherokee. The board is allowed up to fifteen members. Officers are: David Williams, Treasurer; Maria Guerrero, Secretary; Santos Arrendondo, Vice-president and Doug Suggs, President.Occasionally the board receives money from other sources. People called for jury duty are paid a small amount of money for their time, rather than take the money, the juror may designate it to be given to the CWB. The county clerk has forms to fill out for this purpose. We appreciate all monies that are donated to this wonderful cause.Over the years, the CWB has helped pay for a prom dress, class rings, money needed for drivers education and other things needed by foster families.April is Child Abuse Awareness month and many activities are planned to bring attention to this problem.Your local CWB also does the angel tree at Christmas time each year. The board makes sure that the children in our county have gifts of some kind to open. Perhaps you have taken a name off the tree and provided something for a child that would have nothing otherwise. If so, please know how much the board and the children appreciate your efforts. The angel tree gifts are for all children in need in the county therefore the CWB can not use money granted them by the county for this purpose. Therefore, your donations are extremely important. If a child is removed from care and goes to live with a foster family in Burnet County, for instance, that child is still helped. If a child from Burnet is removed and lives with a family in San Saba, Burnet will meet their needs. Each county takes care of their own. You can imagine the budget some counties must have. The CWB is allowed to have fund raisers to help meet the need of each board. In San Saba County there were 16 victims of child abuse and or neglect in Fiscal Year 2011. Five children were removed from their homes. There were no fatalities due to abuse or neglect, but across Central Texas (Region 7), there were 26 child deaths. Across the state of Texas there were almost 200,000 cases investigated, 66,000 children removed from home and 231 child deaths in 2011.If anyone suspects child abuse or neglect they should not hesitate to call the hotline. The hotline is listed in every city that is in our phone book. Open the book to San Saba, look for Child Abuse Hotline and an 800 number will be provided. If Child Protective Services doesn't know about a family or child or children, they cannot help them. Children living in an abusive home don't have a voice. BUT... the rest of us do!