The vision for CHAPS began in the early 2000s, a decade before the dream came to fruition. In 2006 the Equine Advisory Council of the existing non-profit organization Bexar County Partners for Youth was formed. The council members worked diligently with the Juvenile Probation Department staff to conceptualize the program and secure funding for site development and infrastructure. The early years required a great deal of dedication and persistence as obstacles and setbacks were dealt with and overcome.
Through the dedication and persistence of these visionaries, a 29 acre parcel of land was purchased in 2009 by the Bexar County Juvenile Board. Also that year the Bexar County Juvenile Board approved the Juvenile Probation Department to begin contracting with off-site equine assisted psychotherapy services. At that time services were offered to children housed at the Cyndi Taylor Krier Juvenile Correctional Treatment Center (Krier Center). For several years children were transported to equine facilities to receive therapy.
In 2010 and 2011, through several grants and generous donations, funding was secured for fencing, stables, round pen, arena and supplies. With the addition of horses and EAGALA training and certification for counseling staff, on-site equine assisted psychotherapy began in 2012. Shortly thereafter, Horsemanship classes began. Initial classes were facilitated by a contracted, certified EAGALA equine specialist, who was also a certified horse riding instructor, and counselors from the Juvenile Probation Department.
In 2013 and 2014 the number of children served began to expand as the Juvenile Probation Department strove to provide services to children housed at the Krier Center and children who were involved with the department but resided in the community. In 2015, additional classes were developed, curriculums were revised and refined and the CHAPS Team grew. The CHAPS Team condition and exercise the horses, help maintain the equipment and property and facilitate the classes. In 2016, the Juvenile Probation Department began providing all services in-house
Currently, CHAPS is the home of five thriving horses and offers five different programs to children involved with the Juvenile Probation Department.