News Flash

Violent Prevention: Child Abuse

Posted on: March 28, 2022

Child Protection Center

Program Address: 
Child Protection Center, Inc.
3101 Broadway Blvd. • Suite 750 • Kansas City, MO 64111

Contact:
816-778-8000 • cpckc.org


2022 COMBAT Funding: 
$126,783.00

Program Description — From Child Protection Funding Application

“When little people are overwhelmed by big emotions, it’s our job to share our calm, not join their chaos.” – L.R. Knost

Protecting The Voice Of Children

The mission of the Child Protection Center (CPC) is to respect the child and protect their voice throughout the investigation of child abuse. The CPC accomplishes its mission and program purpose by providing forensic interviews, family advocacy and mental health services to children ages 3-17 living in Jackson County, who are victims of sexual and physical abuse or who have witnessed a homicide or other violent crimes and their non-offending caregivers. 

The CPC’s Program ensures that children who are victims of child abuse or witness to violent crimes are properly identified, that their statements are made through forensic interviews, and that they are ensured access to all necessary mental health treatments and social supports as soon as possible. 

807 Victims Served In One Year

In 2019, the CPC served 807 victims of child abuse. Of those, 672 were from Jackson County. 

Today, evidence-based research continues to establish a strong link between victims of child abuse and the potential for future juvenile delinquency and criminal activities, substance use disorder, criminal (often violent) adult behavior. There is also a significant link between child abuse and substance abuse. The Child Protection Center’s Program addresses these links by providing forensic interviews, family advocacy and mental health services for child abuse victims and their famlies. 

Early Identification Of Abuse

The CPC’s forensic interviews protect children by providing early identification of abuse. The forensic interview serves as the child's statement and can be used as evidence in civil or legal cases. The CPC also provides family advocacy for non-offending caregivers. This includes education about navigating the legal system, and referrals for medical, mental health and social services. 

Because we know that victims of child abuse often come from homes where there are multiple family stressors, the CPC developed a Family Questionnaire that is given to all caregivers. This tool is used to identify indicators of family stress, including substance abuse, domestic violence and other issues. If stressors are indicated, the CPC's family advocate works with the caregivers to help them understand that, because of the abuse, their child is at increased risk for future substance abuse and criminal activity, including violent crime. 

As such, the CPC's advocates provide caregivers with the needed resources and referrals to support their child and respond to his/her needs and the needs of the family.

Coping With The Effects Of Abuse

The family advocate also identifies the value of mental health services that can help a child develop coping mechanisms to deal with the effects of the abuse now instead of turning to drugs, alcohol, or criminal activity, including violent crime, later in life. 

Since 2015, the CPC's Mental Health Services Program has strengthened families, making Jackson County a better place for child abuse victims and their families to share their voice and begin their path towards healing. As front-line responders to the most vulnerable victims, the CPC’s child and family therapists are experts in helping children and families navigate the difficult path they face in the aftermath of their abuse and trauma. 

Free Mental Health Services

Today, the CPC not only provides immediate access to free mental health services to children who have experienced sexual abuse, but also fills a gap by helping children recover from the trauma of being physically abused or witnessing violent crimes. Through its short- and long-term therapeutic modalities, the CPC’s mental health services create a safe space for families to identify effective, individualized coping skills to reduce trauma-related symptomology. Children and families also practice healthy communication styles which increase family unity and support the child’s healing process.

Goals

The Child Protection Center's Program goals include:

  • improving the identification
  • protection and support for alleged victims of child abuse and witness to violent crimes
  • improving the response time to allegations of abuse
  • improving the awareness of and access to mental health services and social supports for child victims and their families
  • families/caregivers and their participating children/teens reporting an improvement in their child’s functioning and understanding of positive coping strategies
  • improving community awareness of child abuse and child safety and impact of violence on children.

Outcomes For 2021

The Child Protection Center's Program outcomes include: 

  • conducting at least 800  forensic/expanded forensic interviews 
  • conducting forensic/expanded forensic interviews within 14 days of the completed referral in 90% of cases
  • providing referrals and follow-up to 90 % of the caregivers seen at the CPC
  • the CPC's Director of Clinical Services and Child and Family Therapists providing evidence-based, trauma-focused short and long-term mental health services (CFTSI, TF-CBT, ITCT, EMDR and CPP) to 180 clients (90 children/teens between the ages of 3-17, and 90 of their primary caregivers from Jackson County
  • 90% of children/teens and their caregivers participating in short- and long-term mental health services (CFTSI, TF-CBT, ITCT, EMDR and CPP) at the CPC will report at least a 20% reduction in child’s trauma symptoms between initial screening and completion of treatment
  • the CPC's program staff training approximately 300 professionals/community members who work with children, who work in the field of child abuse and violence, or who live in and around hot-spot areas how to identify and intervene in cases of child abuse

cpckc.org
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