About Us

Who We Are

Helping Hand Home is the oldest continuously operating residential childcare agency in Travis County and a priceless resource kept strong and viable through community support. Helping Hand Home for Children provides a safe haven for children healing from physical, emotional and sexual abuse, neglect or abandonment.

The Home delivers a continuum of services

With private and community support, we give children and families the best in care through a highly educated staff, low child-to-staff ratio and a comprehensive approach to healing. This approach helps children whose young lives were once filled with fear, pain and chaos learn to reclaim their childhood and trust adults to take care of them.

We heal the whole child

Learn More About Our Impact

Residential Treatment Program

The Home’s residential treatment component provides a safe and nurturing environment for children who have experienced the darker side of childhood. We have one of only a few treatment centers in the United States dedicated to serving young children who have experienced severe physical, sexual and emotional trauma. Click here to learn more.

Pearson Therapeutic Foster Care and Adoption

The Pearson Therapeutic Foster Care Program was founded in 1995 on the belief that a loving home can save a child. Our foster care program serves children from birth to 18 years old, some of whom need treatment services but can function successfully in a foster home with specially trained and supported foster parents. HHH is also licensed to perform adoptions. Click here to learn more.

Helping Hand Home/ UT Charter School

The Charter School provides on-site specialized education services for up to 24 of the Home’s children. The teachers and staff work to develop individual learning strategies for children with significant behavioral and academic challenges.

Humble Beginnings

In 1893, an abandoned newborn was discovered in a shoebox at Austin’s railway station. Word of the baby girl spread quickly, and just as quickly, several women who were leaders in the missionary societies of their various denominations volunteered to take responsibility for the child. They took her into their homes, cared for her and gave her a name: Mary Austin.

Soon, many other abandoned and neglected babies were brought to the women. These dedicated women pooled their resources and purchased a small cottage on Guadalupe Street where the babies could be cared for. Little did they know that this first childcare facility in Austin would operate continuously from that time forward.

Rapid Growth

Within a few short years, the original cottage was too small to take care of all the children needing safe haven. In 1899, a much larger home on East 11th Street was purchased. Over the next quarter century, this second home served hundreds of children.

In 1925, the Rotary Club of Austin donated a new facility on a tree-shaded lot in the Hyde Park neighborhood, where Helping Hand Home is located today. The original Avenue B facility was replaced in 1978, and over time, three additional buildings were acquired to complete the current campus.

Helping Hand Home has evolved from a basic childcare facility for abandoned children into a residential treatment center for children who have experienced extreme abuse and neglect.


In 1995, the Home expanded its services to include therapeutic foster care. The program serves children from birth to 18 years old, some of whom require treatment services but can function successfully in a home environment. In addition to foster care, the home is also licensed for adoption services.

The new children’s wing was completed in the winter of 2001, allowing the home to increase the number of children served to 41 and creating additional spaces for healing.


Another recent expansion of services is the Helping Hand Home/UT Charter School. Through a partnership with the University of Texas at Austin, the Home opened an on-site charter school in the fall of 2008 to cater to the unique educational and behavioral needs of our children.

Commitment to Quality

At Helping Hand Home, we give children and families the best in care through a highly educated staff, low child-to-staff ratio and a comprehensive approach to healing. As an organization we are committed to performance and quality improvement, evidence-based services, and stakeholder involvement. To assure the highest level of accountability towards this commitment, the Home worked toward and achieved national accreditation in 2017 through the Council on Accreditation (COA). COA accreditation is an objective, independent and reliable validation of an agency’s performance. Implementing COA standards means our organization is among the best in the field. We are proud to be a part of this community of excellence.

What is COA?

The Council on Accreditation (COA) is an international, independent, nonprofit, human service accrediting organization. Founded in 1977 by the Child Welfare League of America and Family Service America (now the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities), the mission of COA is to partner with human service organizations worldwide to improve service delivery outcomes by developing, applying, and promoting accreditation standards. The Council of Accreditation envisions excellence in the delivery of human services globally, resulting in the well-being of individuals, families, and communities.

What Does That Mean for Me?

As only one of four nationally accredited RTC’s in the state of Texas, you can be assured we are providing the best possible care to our children. The value that COA accreditation will add to all aspects of our operation is immense. Accreditation will maximize your support through accountability and improvement measures while increasing our capacity to deliver high-quality services.

More About COA

To learn more about COA, please click here.

To read the press release, please click here.