August 28, 2016

Aiding in the Development of Vital Parenting Skills

YWCA St JosephParenting for Prevention increases the availability of parenting classes and works to reach parents at their cognitive level. The program has been wholey funded by CTF and offered through the YWCA of St. Joseph.  Two ten-week sessions are held to provide parents information and to help develop parenting skills necessary to raising healthy children and to decrease the risk of child abuse and neglect. One of the program’s focuses is teaching parents how to interact with their children, and helping them understand that every child has a different personality so no one tactic will work with all. The program focuses on children 2 to 12 years old.

Class topics center around understanding child development, developing positive family communications, building positive social and emotional skills in both parent and child (responsiveness, sensitivity, nurturing), discipline and appropriate behavior management, and promoting self-reliance by sharing information from community services like Parents as TeachersEarly Head StartCircle of Parents, Success by Six and others.

We spoke with Ellen Kisker, YWCA Prevention Educator, to learn more about Parenting for Prevention.

AUDIO: Ellen discusses one of the most common concerns of parents, discipline, and how the program’s materials help the parents.

AUDIO: Ellen discusses the short- and long-term goal of Parenting for Prevention.

For more information visit or call Ellen at 816-232-4481.

Connecting Parents to their Babies with Operation Connect

clip from incredible years vidThe Operation Connect (formerly known as Caregiver Connections) program focuses on parenting education and parent-child attachment using The Incredible Years Parenting Series and Theraplay. This Kansas City-based program is funded in part through a grant from the Children’s Trust Fund (CTF), and housed within Operation Breakthrough.

Operation Breakthrough’s mission is to help children who are living in poverty develop to their fullest potential by providing them a safe, loving, and educational environment. Incredible Years is an evidence-based curriculum incorporating parent, teacher and child social skills training.  Theraplay is an established method for improving the parent-child relationship using the four dimensions of healthy interaction-Structure, Engagement, Nurture, and Challenge as its framework.  The program targets high-risk families, especially those with multiple risk factors.

We spoke with Brijin Gardner, Director of Clinical and Social Services for Operation Connect, about the program.

AUDIO: Brijin talks about the program’s domino effect.

The majority of families served by Operation Connect are working or in school and have inflexible work schedules, and parents who don’t have access to insurance or mental health services.

AUDIO: What are Brijin’s ultimate goals for Operation Connect?

The Center strives to support and empower the children’s families through education, advocacy, referral services, and emergency aid.

AUDIO: How Operation Connect helped one mom during a stressful time with her child.

The majority of moms don’t recognize themselves as a change agent in their child’s lives. Operation Connect equips parents with knowledge that they are a change agent in the life of their child.

AUDIO: Brijin explains her vision while creating the program and incorporating Theraplay.

For more information, please call Operation Breakthrough at 816-756-3511.


CTF License Plate Partner Grant Application Available

CTF-licenseplateThe Children’s Trust Fund (CTF) has released a new application for funding to market the CTF prevent child abuse license plate for Fiscal Year 2017 (July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017).  Since 1997, community organizations throughout Missouri have been promoting the popular specialty plate, depicting the green hand prints of a child, to increase prevention awareness and raise funds that are then directly returned back into the community for prevention programs and services.   To be considered, applications must be submitted and received with a postmark no later than Monday, April 25.  For questions, please contact CTF Program Coordinator Laura Malzner at (573) 751-5147 or by e-mail at

CTF License Plate Partner Application Packet FY 2017 (word)

CTF License Plate Partner Application Packet FY 2017 (PDF)

Providing Support to At-risk Families with Young Children

Burrell family PM-TrainingThe Healthy Steps for Families program is a collaborative effort between Burrell Behavioral Heath and the Jordan Valley Community Health Center and is based in Greene County. CTF helps fund services to at-risk pregnant women or parents with children ages 0-3. Healthy Steps for Families medical staff and Healthy Steps specialists use real world scenarios to provide families with supportive environments to address a broad array of early childhood physical and developmental concerns. The program also helps parents understand physician’s findings and instructions, and offers referrals and resources pertinent to individual family needs.

We spoke with Jeanie Beck, Clinical Social Worker at Burrell Behavioral Health about Healthy Steps for Families.

AUDIO: How CTF funding benefits Healthy Steps for Families

Healthy Steps for Families addresses the physical, emotional, intellectual growth and development of children ages 0-3.

AUDIO: Jeanie gives advice to parents wanting to be the best parent they can be

Parent participants of Healthy Steps for Families often become referral sources. Families have been added to the program due to other parents who told them about it.

AUDIO: Jeanie reflects on the successes of the program

Jeanie recommends other providers looking to establish a program like Healthy Steps for Families take part in Strong Parents, Stable Children training.

AUDIO: Jeanie shares a personal experience working with Healthy Steps for Families

For more information, contact Denise Mills, Director of Corporate Services at 417-269-7254 or visit


Project Thrive Working to Strengthen Families

Great Circle’sgc-logo8 Project THRIVE is a collaborative, community-based initiative that works toward strengthening families in Adair County and select areas in Macon County who are experiencing high stress and/or other risk factors.  Services are free to eligible families as a result of a grant from the Children’s Trust Fund via funding from the Community Based Child Abuse Prevention Program (CBCAP) federal grant administered by the Administration for Children & Families (ACF), Department of Health & Human Services.

In order to be considered for Project THRIVE, families must meet certain eligibility criteria such as: parents who are experiencing mental health or psychological disorders and have young children; parents with severe psychological disorders, substance abuse issues, or other at-risk factors that could lead to child abuse and neglect including trauma history; and many more. By ensuring that parents have the knowledge, skills and resources they need to care for their children, Project THRIVE can help promote children’s social and emotional well-being and prevent child maltreatment within families and communities.

We spoke with Kristin Rouner, Project Thrive Coordinator about this initiative.

AUDIO: The effects of Missouri CTF’s funding on Project THRIVE

Project THRIVE has a provider network comprising a variety of agencies within Adair and Macon counties that are referral sources. When those agencies identify a family that meet their criteria, they refer them to Project THRIVE. Kristin Rouner, as coordinator, works with the larger provider network in building capacity, organizing and delivering services to families in an integrated, strength-based comprehensive way.

AUDIO: A testament of success

Project Thrive’s network of primary care providers includes mental health, social service agencies, civic organizations, faith-based organizations, local government agencies and others. Together, they are committed to working collaboratively to provide comprehensive wrap-around services to families and eliminate service duplication. Each family works with a lead agency and a family support team of providers from the network to develop and implement a family road map for achieving their stated goal(s).

AUDIO: Families supporting other families in Project THRIVE

Project THIRVE focuses on ways to build and promote the protective factors, in every interaction with children and families to prevent child maltreatment and promote optimal child development.

AUDIO: Advice for counties wanting to provide similar services

For more information about Project THRIVE, please call Kristin Rouner at (660) 627-2463.

Building Nurturing Parenting Skills for Parents

MBCH logoThe Missouri Baptist Children’s Home (MBCH) Children and Family Ministries works with pregnant women and new parents to develop skills that will help them build strong bonds with their babies thanks to a grant from the Children’s Trust Fund. Using the evidence-based Nurturing Parents curriculum, Pregnancy Service Specialists work with parents to create a plan that promotes healthy and safe home environments, enhanced parenting skills through child development education, educational opportunities (GED, job readiness resources), and assistance with accessing concrete supports (medical care, housing, transportation). We spoke with Jennifer Garland, Pregnancy Services Specialist, MBCH, about the range of support provided to expectant parents.

AUDIO: Support for new parents

Garland says MBCH works with social service agencies in the region to bring awareness about the program to pregnant women, but they also work to meet the women where they live through print materials and word of mouth.

AUDIO: CTF funding helps support staff and parent participation in training with the Nurturing Parenting Curriculum  

The evidence based Nurturing Parents curriculum promotes home environments that are not only safe, but that enhance bonding between parents and their children.

AUDIO: Garland shares how one mother learned to build a better relationship with her children. 

This program encompasses the southeast Missouri counties of Bollinger, Cape Girardeau, Dunklin, Mississippi, New Madrid, Pemiscot, Perry, Scott and Stoddard.

A Multidisciplinary Approach to Preventing Child Sexual Abuse

5StepsSexualAbusePreventionSince 2011, the Task Force on the Prevention of Sexual Abuse of Children has brought together prosecutors, law enforcement officers, advocates and other community members who work together to address child sexual abuse. Mostly through policy and systems advocacy, the group works to make Missouri safer for children.

The task force has recognized four areas of priority. They include:

1. Standardized mandatory reporting curriculum
2. Multidisciplinary team best practices, focusing on how communities get better at investigating child sexual abuse
3. Increasing access to services for children who’ve experienced sexual abuse
4. Addressing youth with problem sexual behaviors so they don’t continue to perpetrate the behaviors throughout their lifetime

We spoke with Emily van Schenkhof, Deputy Director, Missouri KidsFirst about the task force and it’s work, and Cherisse Thibaut, Manager, Prevention and Community Engagement about mandated reporting and Stewards of Children training, which is being implemented across the state.  Both of these programs are supported, in part, by two grants from the Children’s Trust Fund.

van Schenkhof says it’s all a process, and the team mindset helps move positive change along:

van Schenkhof shares how funding from CTF helps deliver on the task force’s findings.

The task force utilizes resources across the state to help bring awareness and gain insights into what’s happening in all regions.

Thibaut says CTF funding is moving Missouri forward by helping provide education that mandated reporters truly need.


D2L_StewardsCaptureThe evidenced-informed Stewards of Children curriculum focuses on improving child-protective behaviors of adults that are responsible for children and is designed to increase knowledge, improve attitudes and change participants’ behavior over the long-term.

Thibault says a major goal in Missouri KidsFirst’s work with Stewards of Children is to eliminate barriers that might prevent the trainings from happening, for instance, eliminating materials costs.

Thibault recommends the Stewards of Children training to any and every youth servicing organization. To learn more about the training, contact Missouri KidsFirst at 573-632-4600.

Click here to view the 5 Steps to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse flier.

Empowering Families During Stressful Times

Stressful situations can take a toll on families and sometimes parents may feel like they’ve reached their breaking point.  In those moments there are resources available to help.  One such resource is CTF grantee Saint Louis Crisis Nursery.  Since 1986, the program has made available a helpline for families who feel like they don’t have anywhere else to turn when they have an emergency or are in crisis. We spoke to DiAnne Mueller, CEO Saint Louis Crisis Nursery about what kinds of situations they see.

AUDIO: How the crisis nursery works

Once the initial crisis period is over the Saint Louis Crisis Nursery offers an after care program called Family Empowerment. Parents and caregivers are educated in critical parenting skills and basic child development issues; topics include appropriate discipline, budgeting, and job preparedness skills.

AUDIO: Mueller talks about a family helped by the crisis nursery.

The crisis nursery has many community partners that work to spread awareness about the services available.

AUDIO: Life saving services

Mueller has worked to open 5 crisis nurseries so far and says she’s happy to speak with anyone who would like to provide the service in their own community.

AUDIO: Opening a support service

You can contact the Saint Louis Crisis Nursery at 314-292-5770.

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.