Office of Community Services
The Office of Community Services programs and projects help people become more self-sufficient, healthier and more fiscally responsible. Programs and projects include:
- Texas Court Appointed Special Advocates, Inc. (Texas CASA) Children's Advocacy Centers of Texas, Inc. (CACTX)
- Family Violence Program
- Refugee Affairs Program
- Twogether in Texas
- SNAP Nutrition Education
- SNAP Education Outreach
- Social Services Outreach
- Alternatives to Abortion
- Community Resource Coordination Group
Contact the Office of Community Services staff by calling 512-206-5172.
Overview of Texas Court Appointed Special Advocates, Inc. (Texas CASA) & Children's Advocacy Centers of Texas, Inc. (CACTX) Programs
S.B. 354, 84th Regular Legislature, Regular Session, 2015, mandated that the authority to contract with statewide support organizations for child advocacy centers (CACs) and volunteer advocate programs, be transferred from the Office of the Attorney General, to the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC). The transfer became effective September 1, 2015.
Contract authority provides additional resources to HHSC, to train, provide technical assistance, and evaluate services for these organizations. These organizations are listed below:
- CACTX is the statewide membership association for CACs. Founded in 1994, CACTX currently includes 69 developing and established centers in both large, urban cities and small, rural communities. Their mission is to restore the lives of abused children by supporting CACs in partnership with local communities and agencies investigating and prosecuting child abuse. For more information about the services offered please visit www.cactx.org.
- Texas CASA is the statewide organization for volunteer advocate programs. Texas CASA and its 72 local programs work to ensure that every child has an advocate to speak for the child's best interest before the courts. The advocate is a caring adult, trained to help a child through this difficult period in life. Their mission is to support local CASA volunteer advocacy programs and to advocate for effective public policy for children in the child protection system. For more information about the services offered please visit www.texascasa.org.
The Family Violence Program provides services to those that have been physically, emotionally, or sexually abused by a partner, former partner, or another family or household member.
HHSC provides immediate protection and support services to victims of family violence by working with local family violence centers and organizations.
HHSC works with the federal government and local non-profit organizations to help refugees, refugees with asylum status and victims of severe forms of human trafficking. Services include cash, medical assistance, interpretation and translation services, job training, English language training, General Educational Development (GED) instruction and cultural orientation services.
Twogether in Texas helps couples build marriage and relationship skills. Couples who take the classes learn communication and conflict resolution skills to develop and maintain healthy relationships. The interactive format of the classes helps couples practice communicating better and supporting each other.
SNAP Nutrition Education provides educational programs to people who are eligible to receive SNAP. This program provides classes and information about making healthy food choices, practicing food safety, stretching a limited SNAP budget and increasing physical activity.
SNAP Education and Outreach provides food benefits information, assistance with SNAP applications and referrals to other benefit programs and community services.
Information about SNAP is shared through community and media events and door-to-door outreach.
Social Services Outreach educates and provides application assistance to consumers regarding the Texas Benefits programs and eligibility requirements. Outreach includes referrals to other community services, community and media events, door-to-door visits and application assistance.
The Alternatives to Abortion program provides low-income pregnant women with pregnancy and parenting information and supports such as:
- Counseling referral and pregnancy information hotline, 877-345-7734.
- Texas Pregnancy Care Network website, www.texaspregnancy.org.
- Support groups in maternity homes.
- Referrals to community and social service programs such as child-care, transportation, housing, and state and federal benefit programs.
- Classes on life skills, budgeting, parenting, stress management and General Education Development (GED).
- Items such as car seats, maternity clothes, infant diapers and formula.
Useful Websites for Education and Outreach Programs
- Food and Nutrition Services: Information for providers and consumers about nutrition; the federal SNAP program; Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program; school meals; Summer Food Service Program; Child and Adult Care Food Program; Food Assistance for Disaster Relief; and food distribution programs.
- Food and Nutrition Information Center: Resources for nutrition and health professionals, educators, government personnel and consumers.
- SNAP Nutrition Connection: Resources for nutrition education providers. Includes information about the SNAP Nutrition Education Plan.
Your Texas Benefits
Online application, screening tool and HHSC benefit office listing.
CHIP and Children's Medicaid
Information about CHIP and Children’s Medicaid programs and an online application.
Information about local services.
HHSC Reference Guide
Information on more than 200 state agency health and human service programs.