August 31, 2015

Reducing Parent Stress through Baby Connect

BBC baby hats

Baby Connect supports CTF’s Shaken Baby initiative through messaging on knitted baby hats.  The hats are knitted and then donated by inmates with the Missouri Department of Corrections.

In an effort to help young parents in Missouri’s Bootheel region, ParentLink at the University of Missouri, Columbia, with a grant from CTF, created Bootheel Baby Connect.  The project includes a Facebook group for parents of new babies who live in Missouri’s southeastern most region. The group provides parents with a network of friends with whom they can share positive parenting, challenges, and solutions, as well as access to basic supports. The group also utilizes the support of the ParentLink Warmline (1-800-552-8522) to provide services to families in need. We spoke with Ta’janette Sconyers, M.Ed., Director of Baby Connect.  She says the program’s main goal is prevention but she knows there are times when intervention strategies are necessary and Baby Connect and the Warmline are there for those times as well.

AUDIO: Sconyers talks about targeting teen parents with the program, but also being a resource for other parents:

AUDIO: Another goal of the program is to have an impact on future generations of the families it supports:

AUDIO: Sconyers talks about the ParentLink Warmline:


Prevention Funding Application Information

The Children’s Trust Fund  (CTF) will release a Request for Application for proposals addressing the prevention of child abuse/neglect and strengthening families for State Fiscal Year 2016 (July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2016)  on Thursday, January 15, 2015.  An informational meeting will be held on Wednesday, January 21 from 10 am – Noon  in Room 850, Truman State Office Building, 301 W. High Street, Jefferson City, MO 65101.  The meeting is open to anyone interested in learning more about the grant program and application process.  It is not necessary to RSVP.   CTF’s Request for Application will be available via the CTF website on January 15.

As Missouri’s Foundation for Child Abuse Prevention, CTF works to prevent child abuse and neglect and strengthen families through grant distribution, education, awareness and partnerships.

For questions regarding the General Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Grant Program please email Laura Malzner.

Simulating Parenthood to Enhance Teen Responsibility

Real Care BabyHannibal’s C.H.A.R.T. Teen Task Force is a Children’s Trust Fund prevention grantee that works to eliminate unplanned teen pregnancies throughout Northeast Missouri. The program is available to any school, church group, or youth group, in a seven county area in northeast Missouri which includes: Marion, Ralls, Pike, Monroe, Shelby, Lewis, and Clark.  It provides an opportunity for teens to have hands on learning about what it takes to care for an infant through the Baby Think It Over/Empathy Belly program. Real Care Baby infant simulators are used to help students work through situations that are likely to arise if they were to become parents.  The program also uses simulated pregnancy bellies to give teen girls an opportunity to feel what it might be like to be pregnant. The third type of simulator is for the prevention of Shaken Baby Syndrome.

Real Care Baby simulatorAll of the experiences with the simulators are intended to help students understand how their lives might change socially and at home with a pregnancy or while trying to raise a child. We spoke with Leigh Ann Bergman, Community Coordinator, about the program and how it is helping educate teens.


AUDIO: Bergman talks about the community members who support and assist with the program.

AUDIO: Bergman talks about goals for the school year.

AUDIO: Bergman talks about the simulators that were purchased with CTF funding, and their importance.

Guiding Teen Parents Toward Success

The Independence School District’s (ISD) Teen Parenting Support program offers expectant and new teen parents opportunities to continue their education while getting support for all of the new responsibilities facing them. The ISD not only uses home visitation and case management to support teen parents, but provides an opportunity for them to bring their children into the classroom and get hands on support and education.  Since receiving grant funding from Children’s Trust Fund, the program has been able to increase the level of support to parents through implementation of the Love & Logic Parent Model, and after school opportunities for parents and their families.  We spoke with John Tramel, Director of Neighborhood and Family Services for the district, along with Nicole Sequeira, Family Service Coordinator/McKinney-Vento Liaison and Juanice Williams, Teen Parenting Specialist about the program and how it helps build a strong foundation and a greater chance for success.  Tramel reports that over 90% of their teen parents graduate from high school but, beyond graduation, they want to make sure the components are in place so that students can follow and implement their career path and ultimately reach their life goals.

AUDIO: Community Partnerships

AUDIO: Program Goals

AUDIO: Starting a Similar Program

Educating Children and Parents about Sexual Abuse

Project Aware Activity Book coverProject Aware is a school and community based sexual abuse prevention education program, provided through the Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault (MOCSA), Kansas City and supported by the Children’s Trust Fund.  The free program educates children, parents, school staff and interested community members throughout Jackson, Platte, Clay and Cass Counties.  Project aware teaches pre-k through 5th grade students critical information about body safety, safe and unsafe touches, how to identify a trusted adult to tell and that they have a right to tell.  The program also trains parents and teachers on how to create a safe environment for children, and provide education on the caregivers role in sexual abuse prevention.  Children with developmental disabilities are also served through Project Aware.  We spoke with Mary Hopkins, Education and Outreach Specialist, about the program.

AUDIO: Educating and debunking myths

AUDIO: Hopkins talks about ways community members can reach out.

AUDIO: Resources made available through CTF grant funding

AUDIO: Hopkins shares the story of a child who was able to receive protection through education from Project Aware.


Continuing the Connection During Separation

PATCH pic2 PATCH, which stands for Parents and Their Children, of Chillicothe, is a non-profit organization that helps children, whose mothers are incarcerated at Chillicothe Correctional Center, keep the connection during the time that they’re separated. The visits take place in a home-like setting, over 4 hours. They are supervised by PATCH staff or volunteers. The visits help to reduce the risk of abuse and neglect when the incarcerated parent is reunified with their child(ren).

PATCH also provides required parenting classes to mothers. The women complete ten classes over a five week period through the parent education course Turning Points.  Additional visits may be earned through on-going participation in PATCH Parent Support Group meetings. CTF provides grant funding for the PATCH program. We spoke with Barb Burton, Program Director, about PATCH and how it works to help build and maintain strong family relationships during the incarceration period and beyond.

PATCH pic1AUDIO: Burton describes PATCH visits and describes the program’s eligibility requirements.

AUDIO: Burton describes how PATCH has impacted mothers.

AUDIO: Burton reflects on the long-term benefits the program can have on children.

AUDIO: Burton shares the benefits the program has seen since receiving CTF funding.

AUDIO: Burton shares one of her favorite stories of a young woman who was helped by PATCH as a child.


Connecting Families at Fun City

end bullying picColumbia’s Fun City Youth Academy’s Connecting Families with Tools for Living program supports families in their efforts to lead healthy and productive lives, as well as find support when needed. Fun City Youth Academy has evolved over the years from a safe, supervised program for unattended children, to include cultural enrichment activities and to engage area youth and their parents in academic, cultural and recreational programs that promote academic achievement, self respect, and social responsibility, as well as link families to services and opportunities. The program offers both reading and math curricula and, most recently, developed a partnership with the Columbia Public Schools for an 8 week summer school session. The program uses the Strengthening Families Framework and the Building Strong Families curriculum. We spoke with Program Director Consuela Johnson about Fun City and how it works to enhance the lives of those it serves.

AUDIO: Fun City’s long-term goals of providing educational and cultural development

AUDIO: How CTF funding helps provide for children and their parents

AUDIO: Johnson talks about the necessity to provide for parents as well as children.

AUDIO: Johnson shares a number of examples of the variety of assistance Fun City provides.


Kids Count in Missouri 2013 Data Available

KidsCountCover2013University of Missouri’s Office of Social & Economic Data Analysis (OSEDA) along with the Children’s Trust Fund (CTF) recently released the KIDS COUNT in Missouri 2013 Data Book documenting the status of  children in all 114 Missouri counties and the City of St. Louis.  The annual publication is a collaborative initiative of the The Annie E. Casey Foundation, OSEDA, CTF and many other public and private organizations from across the state.  Annie Casey recently announced that The Family and Community Trust (FACT) is the newest KIDS COUNT grantee in Missouri for 2014.  FACT is a non-profit organization supporting 20 community partnerships around the state whose mission is to find solutions to improving the lives of the families and children in their communities.

The online resource provides information on measures of child well-being covering areas such as health, education, financial security, juvenile justice and child protection. The 2013 data finds that during the most recent reporting period, Missouri made improvements in seven of the key KIDS COUNT indicators including a births to moms without a high school diploma, low birth weight infants, infant mortality, teen violent deaths, percent of annual high school dropouts, and births to teens.  Three indicators worsened – students enrolled in free/reduced lunch, child abuse/neglect and family assessments and out-of-home placements.

Data for the report is compiled from more than 80 federal, state, county and municipal sources by OSEDA.  Primary funding for the project is provided by Annie E. Casey and the Children’s Trust Fund.

Kids Count Executive Summary
Missouri Profile
Composite Ranks
Understanding the Data (including Minority Profile)
2013 Databook with County Profiles
2013 Databook without County Profiles

Mentoring Young Parents

1BDDA5F5The Young Parent Program, through the New Madrid County Family Resource Center, is a mentoring program that helps young women and their partners during pregnancy and early parenting. The Young Parent Program works to help parents develop skills and independence through support, counseling and friendship.  The program focuses on continuing education, finding and maintaining employment, information on living a healthy lifestyle and practicing positive parenting skills. We spoke to Tonya Vannasdall, Director, about the program’s beginnings, the strides made and where she hopes it will go from here.

AUDIO: Vannasdall talks about the program start with the help of the Children’s Trust Fund.

AUDIO: Vannasdall says the program is meant to not only educate but provide an outlet for quality time.

AUDIO: Vannasdall chats about the long-term goals of the Young Parent Program.

AUDIO: Many of those who have been previous participants in the Young Parents program return later on to share their experiences with other parents in the program.

Providing Parent Care along with Child Care

Leigh_dunlap_Parent_classA few years ago, staff with the Jefferson City Daycare Center noticed that some of the children’s parents were struggling with having a life outside of providing for their families.  They had very little peer contact and didn’t have the resources available to participate in activities outside of home and work.

MiccaTo address the issue, Jefferson City Daycare implemented their Parent Education Program, with funding from the United Way and then the Children’s Trust Fund. It’s based upon the Strengthening Families approach to protective factors. The program provides opportunities for parents to take part in educational presentations including subjects like nutrition, infant/child CPR, dental health, budgeting, positive discipline, single parent concerns, and ideas and activities for playing with children.  The center welcomes a wide variety of speakers.  Donna Scheidt, Jefferson City Daycare Center Director, says the program has grown beyond education and is helping parents make much needed connections and friendships.

AUDIO: Scheidt talks about how the parent classes help provide support for everyday parenting

AUDIO: Scheidt talks about the power of word-of-mouth in building resources

AUDIO: Scheidt shares an example of the positive impact the program can have for parents

AUDIO: Scheidt talks about how important it is to recognize parents for the hard work that it takes to build strong families