County gives Garth House $10k donation

Published 7:41 pm Wednesday, September 19, 2018

By Dawn Burleigh

The Orange Leader


Garth House will receive a $10,000 contribution from Orange County Commissioners Court.

Orange County Judge Dean Crooks read aloud a letter he had received asking for a contribution to the organization.

The Garth House opened in June, 1991. It provides an environment, which reflects the physical and emotional atmosphere of a home, rather than that of a clinic or an institution. Children who may have been sexually or physically abused are referred to the Garth House by law enforcement and Child Protective Services. We have interviewed over 11,400 alleged victims over the past years. The investigative agencies work as a team. The Garth House provides counseling for our young victims and their non-offending family members.

Garth House currently serves Southeast Texas with locations in Beaumont, Kirbyville, Orange, and Woodville, according to its official website.

“The Women’s Club donated a building in Orange,” Executive Director Marion Tanner said. “Since we have opened, we have interviewed 2,158 children.”

Each child also receives counseling.

“We have counseled 1,096 children in Orange County,” Tanner said. “Each one receives an average of 24 counseling sessions.”

The organization averages 80 children a year.

“We have had over 100 this year and have three months to go,” Tanner said.

Garth House also assists with interviews for 60-80 year olds as well.

Initially, Crooks told Garth House representatives Tanner and Beaumont Fire Chief Earl White that the county did not have $5,000 in the General Funds to give.

However, County Auditor Pennee Schmitt looked into the Family Protection Services Restricted funds and brought the information to the county attorney to research.

“The County Attorney, after reading the rules said this falls squarely into this,” Crooks said. “So we are offering $10,000 this year.”

Tanner added garth House also has a Child Fatality Review Team where they have already spoken to 4,000 parents in area hospitals to educate them on not swinging a child or leave a child outside the doors of a hospital for the Baby Moses Law.

“Most fatalities are babies under one year,” Tanner said. “It is why we have to have prevention programs in place.”

The Garth House, Mickey Mehaffy Children’s Advocacy Program was named in memory of former Jefferson County Assistant District Attorney Mickey Mehaffy, recognizing her personal endeavors to enrich the lives of Southeast Texas Children.