A place of healing for Central Texas children is now a place of refuge, as Temple's McLane Children's Hospital has been designated a Safe Place.

The hospital received its official Safe Place placard at a ceremony Wednesday morning. Space Places are secure locations where children and adolescents facing abuse, neglect, homelessness, or trauma can receive shelter and help from trained personnel.

According to Grace Miller with Baylor Scott & White Hospital, McLane Children's is the first official Safe Space in Temple.

“Safe Places are important because they give young people access to help when they need it the most,” said Kayla Cehand, trauma coordinator at McLane Children’s. “McLane Children’s is proud to receive this designation and play a role in keeping our community safe.”

Ellen Hansen, chief nursing officer and chief operating officer at McLane Children’s, said the hospital's goal as a Safe Place is to ensure that children in crisis are protected and connected to resources to help them overcome the negative circumstances in which they find themselves.

According to Safe Place, national agencies estimate between 1.6 and 2.8 million youth run away from home each year. Since the organization’s start in 1983, over 20,000 locations in the U.S. have been designated Safe Places, and more than 166,000 youth have been connected to immediate help and safety at a Safe Place location.