About Child Safe
Child Safe of Central Missouri, INC is a non-profit, operating under the direction of a Board of Directors compromised of business and community leaders. Our mission is to respond to child abuse and help families heal. Child Safe serves 11 counties which include: Benton, Carroll, Chariton, Henry, Johnson, Lafayette, Linn, Moniteau, Morgan, Pettis and Saline. Last year we served 411 children who were victims of sexual abuse, severe physical abuse, exploitation, or witnessed domestic violence, homicide, or other crimes.
Child Safe provides forensic interviews to children aged 3-18. The forensic interview is a developmentally sensitive and legally sound method of gathering factual information regarding allegations of abuse or exposure to violence. This interview is conducted by a trained, neutral professional utilizing research and practice-informed techniques. Through a series of non-leading questions, the interviewer gently assesses the child’s communication skills, so the interview is conducted at a level that is consistent with the child’s developmental abilities.
The forensic interview is used to assess whether a crime has occurred. All interviews conducted are recorded in Child Safe’s interview room with only the child and interviewer in the room. At least one member from the multi-disciplinary team (MDT) observes the interview through closed-circuit television in the monitoring room on-site. MDT members include law enforcement investigators, prosecutor attorneys, Children Division Investigators, mental health professionals and medical professionals.
Our Child Advocates provide support to non-offending caregivers in cases of alleged child sexual and/or physical abuse in order to protect and facilitate services for the child who has been hurt. The non-offending caregiver, particularly in incest cases, is besieged by a wide array of pressures and emotions. If the child is to be protected and remain in their own home the non-offending caregiver often must choose to support the child in the face of their own denial, that of the alleged abuser, and the denial of their family and friends. This task is made more difficult by the array of emotions with which the parent must deal, including denial, shame, rejection, fear, anger, and loss. Added to this is the reality many such parents were themselves victimized as children, thus the alleged abuse potentially rekindles old deep-seated emotions. Combined with the emotional stress is the financial impact caused by sudden separations and the loneliness and isolation often resulting from separations.
The Advocate helps to identify the non-offending caregiver's most urgent need for the family. Basic needs must be met first, such as food, clothing, shelter and safety of the child. The advocate’s role is to provide support for the non-offending caregiver and help guide the caregiver toward healthy decision making. Child Safe staff will assist families with scheduling specialized medical exams for child clients at Children’s Mercy Hospital’s SCAN Clinic.
Child Safe has two fulltime on-staff therapists who conduct individual, family, and/or group counseling. By creating a safe, therapeutic relationship, children and their families are able to process their experiences and begin healing from the abuse they have endured. Each client's treatment is individualized to meet his or her emotional, psychological, and developmental needs. Services are offered to children, siblings, and to non-offending caregivers.
Child Safe offers a team approach to child abuse investigations. We bring together those agencies involved in the child abuse investigation in a place specially designed for children, supporting and enhancing investigation, prosecution and therapy process. The trauma for the child is reduced and the probability of successful prosecution is increased.
The services provided by Child Safe are available to cover over 60,000 children under the age of 18 in our 13-county service area. In 2018, 411 children received services provided by Child Safe, more than 1 child per day. Nearly 80% of the families we serve have incomes below the 150% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines and the majority being below the 125%. The average cost per child receiving services is $2,003.57. All of Child Safe services are provided free of charge.
Please feel free to contact us with any additional questions you may have.