Each child comes into this world with the potential to be a mind-blowingly beautiful and amazing human being. In the last few months and weeks, we have been confronted by a startling disregard for the welfare of children. From the BBC to the Boy Scouts, institutions have chosen to put their own interests above the safety of children. In 2012, Missouri KidsFirst has worked to address and prevent child abuse by:
- Providing training to law enforcement officers, forensic interviewers, victim advocates, prosecutors, mental health professionals and medical professionals throughout the state on how to investigate, prosecute and treat child abuse;
- Providing training and coaching to youth serving organizations throughout the state on how to prevent child abuse;
- Staffing and leading the Task Force on the Prevention of Sexual Abuse of Children, which will provide a report by January 1 to the Governor, General Assembly and State Board of Education on how to prevent child sexual abuse;
- Increasing funding for services to children who have been abused by securing a $500,000 increase in the state budget for Child Advocacy Centers; and
- Modifying several bills passed during the 2012 legislative session to ensure that child welfare is not compromised in Missouri’s sentencing and corrections practices and criminal code.
To assist Missouri KidsFirst in our fight to end child abuse please consider doing one of the following:
- Contact Missouri KidsFirst Prevention Coordinator, Marissa Gunther at Marissa@missourikidsfirst.org or 573-632-4600 to learn more how your school or youth-serving organization can create a climate that is inhospitable to child abuse.
- Contact your local House of Representative Member or Senator and tell them that protecting Missouri’s children should be the state of Missouri’s top priority;
- Pay attention to the children in your life and if your gut tells you to be concerned about an adult’s behavior towards children, take the time to ask questions and ensure that the child’s interest is put first;
- If a child tells you they are being hurt, believe them and tell them it is not their fault;
- Buy a Missouri KidsFirst t-shirt for yourself or the children in your life and raise awareness of child abuse;
- Provide a tax-deductible contribution to Missouri KidsFirst to support our work to address and prevent child abuse.
Within our reach is the opportunity to become a state that is nationally known for protecting and prioritizing children. Children who grow up with bodily integrity and safety become productive adults with the full capacity to serve their families, communities and state.