February 14, 2016

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.

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.