Children’s Center of Southwest Missouri, a not-for-profit child advocacy center headquartered in Joplin, Missouri has been providing victim assistance services since 1997. Children’s Center was founded in 1996 by a group of concerned citizens that believed children should not be repeatedly interviewed about an abusive incident. At that time, most children were interviewed in busy police departments or in their own homes where the abuse may have occurred.
How does your organization work to improve child well-being in your community or in the state of MO?
Children’s Center works to improve child well-being in the 12 Missouri counties we serve by assisting law enforcement and Children’s division with the investigation of sexually abused and/or physically abused children and/or have witnessed violent crimes. Children’s Center is available for children ages birth through 17 years of age and their families. As a child advocacy center (CAC), the Center provides benefits to victims and families, and our community. The benefits of a CAC are readily apparent: consistent and prompt follow-up to reports of abuse; crisis intervention and crisis management; consistent and compassionate support for the child and family; referrals to professionals with expertise in specialized fields; reduces the need for multiple victim interviews; and increases successful prosecutions. We also provide Trauma-Focused Therapy for the children we serve, their siblings, and non-offending guardians.
What policy change would you most like to see to support child well-being in our state?
Children’s Center strongly supports House Bill 557. This bill provides provisions relating to the protection of children in faith-based residential care centers.
Why do you think it’s important for our state to invest in children?
It is important for our state to invest in children because it allows children to grow up to be more productive and healthy adults.
What do you like most about being a member of Kids Win Missouri?
The broad representation of agencies across the state working toward a unified mission of supporting the well being of children.
Photo: Staff GO BLUE day in honor of Child Abuse Prevention Month.