December 22, 2014

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.

Shop on Amazon? An Easy Way to Help Missouri’s Kids

Amazon SmileThe Amazon Smile program is an opportunity for individuals to contribute a little bit of their Amazon purchase price to the charitable organization of their choice, every time they shop, at no additional cost.  The AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price from your eligible AmazonSmile purchases. The purchase price is the amount paid for the item minus any rebates and excluding shipping & handling, gift-wrapping fees, taxes, or service charges. All you have to do is be logged in to and a portion of your purchase will automatically be donated. It may seem like a small amount, but this time of year, with so many online shoppers, a little bit can go a long way. We know there are many worthy causes out there. With funding received at CTF, we will be working to support programs across Missouri with the shared goal of preventing child abuse and neglect, and building Strong Families, Safe Kids. Follow these instructions to sign up for your Amazon Smile account:

  • First visit online
  • You may use the same account on and AmazonSmile. If you already have an Amazon account, login with that. Your shopping cart, Wish List, wedding or baby registry, and other account settings are the same for both.
  • You will be prompted to select a charitable organization to receive donations from eligible purchases before you begin shopping. There are nearly a million eligible 501(c)(3) organizations to choose from.  There is a search box in which you type Missouri Childrens Trust Fund Board  (You may change your charity selection at any time.)
  • Once registration is completed and your charity is chosen, just make sure that you select Amazon Smile every time you log on to shop with Amazon.
  • Shop at from your desktop or laptop computer, your mobile phone, or your tablet, including any Kindle Fire device. (Currently purchases made through the Amazon Shopping App or Kindel E-reader are not yet eligible.

Fostering Supportive Environments for Kids

efc-building-community-commitment_Page_01A new guide is available on how communities can foster supportive environments for children.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released Building Community Commitment for Safe, Stable, Nurturing Relationships and Environments, developed by Prevention Institute (PI). This publication provides guidance to mobilize communities to create safe spaces and settings that keep kids safe and support their healthy development. As part of CDC’s Essentials for Childhood initiative to prevent child abuse and neglect, this document lays out steps that communities can use to build support for many issues. Nine key elements and case examples are presented, organized into three areas:  developing a shared vision, build understanding of the need and solutions, and partnerships.

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

PODCAST: Mandated Reporting in Missouri, What’s Changed

Cherisse ThibautIn this podcast Children’s Trust Fund Executive Director Kirk Schreiber speaks with Cherisse Thibaut, Prevention and Community Outreach Manager for Missouri KidsFirst, about mandated reporting in Missouri.  They discuss recent legislation that has changed, who is required to report suspected abuse, and why the changes were made.  Changes to mandated reporter requirements.  Thibaut also discussed how to report suspected abuse as well as the current efforts by Missouri’s Task Force on the Prevention of Sexual Abuse of Children.

Anyone who suspects child abuse or  neglect is urged to call the Children’s Division Hotline at 800-392-3738.
AUDIO: Mandated Reporting


25th Edition Kids Count Data Book Available

AECFkidscountdatabookcover-2014The Annie E. Casey Foundation (AECF) has released The KIDS COUNT Data Book 2014 .  The annual publication documents child well-being nationally and across the 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Using an index of 16 indicators, the 2014 report ranks states on overall child well-being and in four domains: (1) economic well-being, (2) education, (3) health, and (4) family and community. For 2014, the three highest-ranked states for child well-being were Massachusetts, Vermont and Iowa; the three lowest-ranked were Nevada, New Mexico and Mississippi. Missouri ranked 29th overall with its highest ranking in education (22) and lowest in child health (30).  The report also provides national trends, comparing the latest data with mid-decade statistics.   The 2014 Data Book is the 25th edition of the Casey Foundation’s signature publication.

AECF Kids Count Data Book Resource Page
25th Edition of Kids Count Data Book Highlights Improvements
Missourinet – Kids Count Story – July 23, 2014
2013 (current) Kids Count in Missouri Data Book online


Making Meaningful Connections – 2014 Prevention Resource Guide

2014 Prevention Resource GuideThe Child Welfare Information Gateway provides numerous resources for child abuse and neglect prevention, including the 2014 Prevention Resource Guide entitled Making New Connections.  The Resource Guide is created annually to support community-based child abuse prevention professionals in their work to prevent child maltreatment and promote well-being of children and families. Others including policymakers, parent educators, family support workers, health care providers, child care providers, teachers, mentors, program administrators, and clergy, will also find this resource helpful.  The 2014 edition includes the following chapters:  Protective Factors Approaches to Promoting Well-Being, Working With Families Using the Protective Factors, Engaging Your Community, Protecting Children, Tip Sheets for Parents and Caregivers, and Resources.

2014 Prevention Resource Guide – Making Meaningful Connections (PDF)

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.


Kids and Vehicles…a Dangerous Combination

NEFAM_Rufus_2014Many parents face the decision about whether or not to leave the kids in the car while they run a quick errand, in the name of convenience.  But this seemingly innocent act can turn deadly in just seconds.  It’s important that all parents and caregivers realize that it is never safe to leave a child in or around vehicles, Not Even For A Minute!  In addition to temperatures that can skyrocket inside a vehicle, leaving children susceptible to heat stroke, there are other dangers.  They include backovers, frontovers, power window accidents, trunk entrapment, vehicles set into motion, car jacking and abduction. It’s important for parents and caregivers to remember that most of these things can happen very quickly.

In addition to making sure the kids go with you when you leave the vehicle, follow these tips to ensure they don’t use the vehicle as a play place when you’re at home or elsewhere:

  • Always put your keys in a safe and secure place.
  • Keep vehicles locked at all times, even at home, and remind your friends and neighbors to do the same.  Unlocked cars pose a risk to children who are naturally curious and often fearless.
  • Teach your children the dangers of a car and let them know it is not a toy or playground.
  • Establish a routine of checking the back seat every time you exit the car to ensure no one is left behind. Don’t overlook sleeping infants.
  • Place your child’s diaper bag or a small toy in the front seat to serve as a constant, visible reminder of you child’s presence in the car.
  • Place your purse, briefcse or other personal item in the back wth the child to give you an additional reason to check the back seat.
  • Ask your childcare provider to call you if your child does not show up for childcare as scheduled.
  • Try to plan ahead when you have errands. Run errands when your spouse, trusted neighbor or friend can watch your child.
  • Remember to use drive-through convenience provided by banks, dry cleaners, phamacies, restaurants and other businesses.
  • Use your debit or credit card at the gas pump.
  • When a child is missing, check vehicles and trunks immediately.
  • If you see an unnattended child in a car, call 911 immediately.

To help spread this critical safety message, CTF offers several Not Even For A Minute public education materials. These are available at no cost in hard copy and download (pdf) and include a poster and rack card (pdf) with helpful tips and reminders.

Related Articles:

Sophie’s KISS program

Look Before You Lock campaign

Kids and Cars

Walmart places reminder signs in windows

Avoid summer tragedy

CTF Welcomes Michelle Crockett

Michelle CrockettThe Children’s Trust Fund (CTF) welcomes Michelle Crockett, Carthage, to its Board of Directors.  She was recently appointed to the Board by Governor Jay Nixon.  Currently the director of talent acquisition for Leggett & Platt, Inc.,  Crockett previously was executive director of Barceda Families, a non-profit agency providing child abuse prevention, intervention and family support services. Crockett also taught in the Lamar R-I School District for 10 years.   “I feel honored and privileged to have the opportunity to serve on the Children’s Trust Fund Board of Directors.  It is an outstanding foundation dedicated to making a difference in the lives of children across the state of Missouri,” said Crockett.  Her appointment is subject to confirmation by the Missouri Senate.

The CTF Board of Directors is comprised of twenty-one members of whom seventeen public members are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate.  In addition, four members are from the Missouri Legislature, including two members from the Missouri Senate appointed by the President Pro Tem and two members from the House of Representatives appointed by the Speaker of the House.