Since 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.
The 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.