Austin Child Guidance Center first building, 1951
Early in 1949 a group of Austin citizens composed of interested citizens and child serving agencies such as the public schools, the juvenile court, welfare agencies, and voluntary agencies, formed a steering committee to study the local mental health needs and to recommend an appropriate service agency.
From 1951 to 1967, the Center devoted the great majority of its time to providing high quality diagnostic and treatment services to the children of Austin. It was during this time period that the Center brought to Austin the first child psychiatrist and pioneered the establishment of a day school for children too emotionally disturbed to be in a regular school setting.
In 1981, the Center began its highly successful Peer Assistance and Leadership (PAL) program in the Austin Independent School District, through which junior high children at risk of substance abuse were matched with senior high role models.
In 2016 the Center celebrated its 65th anniversary in delivering mental health services to the community. At that time we estimated that in the past 65 years more than 140,000 children and family members have received treatment. The agency conducted an oral history video project of past clients, board members and staff to document the Center’s profound impact in children’s mental health. Many of those videos can be viewed on our Videos page.