National Child Abuse Prevention Month

By: Russell Martin, President

Missouri Baptist Children's Home
Posted: Apr 11, 2022

April is recognized as National Child Abuse Prevention Month.  The Child Welfare Information Gateway website states that National Child Abuse Prevention Month recognizes the importance of families and communities working together to strengthen families to prevent child abuse and neglect. Through this collaboration, prevention services and supports help protect children and produce thriving families.  It has been an annual tradition to focus on this issue since 1983 when the month of April was first selected as a time to focus on this issue and what we might do to address it.  The vast majority of the clients served by MBCH are victims of abuse and/or neglect. 

According to the Child Abuse and Neglect Annual Report prepared by the Children's Division of the Missouri Department of Social Services for fiscal year 2021, there were 128,801 hotline calls made to the Child Abuse/Neglect Hotline Unit (CANHU).  Of those reports, 54,515 were classified as investigtions or assessments and were completed by the Children's Division.  A total of 77,108 children were involved in the investigations/assessments.

Reports of child abuse/neglect can be made by person who are either "mandated" or "permissive" reporters.  Mandated reporters are required by state statute to report abuse/neglect when they have reasonable cause to suspect a child has been or is being abused or neglected.  Mandated reporters include, but are not limited to, health and education professionals, social workers and foster parents.  Permissive reporters, such as relatives or neighbors, are not required to report suspected abuse/neglect.

Confidential reports can be made to the hotline unit at 1-800-392-3738.  Mandated reporters can also report online at http://dss.mo.gov/cd/can.htm.  This unit operates year-round on a twenty-four hours per day, seven days per week basis.  When a call is received, information is analyzed to determine whether:

1.  the child is under age 18.
2.  the alleged perpetrator has care, custody and control of the child.
3.  the report covers the legal definition of abuse and/or neglect.

After that the information is forwarded electronically to one of the counties for either investigation or assessment.  A report indicating behavior tht may constitute a criminal violation is screened as an investigation and law enforcement is contacted to co-investigate.  Reports that to not appear to be of a criminal nature may be responded to as an assessment, where resources or services may be offered to the families to help prevent abuse or to meet a family's specific need.

Of the 77,108 children with reports in FY 2021, 4,688 (6.1%) were substantiated as abused/neglected.

While our programs are designed to provide hope, healing, and restoration to victims of abuse/neglect, it is also our purpose to provide resources to prevent abuse/neglect from occurring.  One resource is the Stewards of Children training that is provided under the auspices of our church engagement inititative.  This is a free or very low-cost training that can be provided in your area.  For more information, call us at 314-739-6811 or contact David Burch, church engagement strategist, at David.Burch@MBCH.org.

Together we can make a difference in the lives of children and families.  Thank you for partnering with us to make it happen.

 

 

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