Supporting healthy children and families
How his Catholic Charities journey begins:
Brendon has been walking the dark and cold streets of his small Missouri town since before sundown. His thin jacket does little to break the frigid west November wind, and his tennis shoes are soaked through from the cold rain. Yet he walks on. He walks because he’s afraid to go home. Coming into the convenience store to warm up, he meets a neighbor who serves as a volunteer at the local parish and who has often heard rumors about Brendon’s home life. She suggests he reach out to Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph, knowing they provide Children & Family Services for just this kind of case.
* Names and some details have been changed to protect anonymity.
His underlying issue:
According to the 2016 Child Maltreatment Report issued by U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Brendon is one of approximately 600,000 children who are subjected to child abuse and neglect. Even more tragic is this statistic: Unlike Brendon, who can temporarily escape entrenched abuse at home by taking to the streets, children under one year old suffer the highest documented rate of victimization.
Such abuse leaves a sad legacy. Data shows Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) are strongly linked to poor behavior and poor health development in children. Examples of ACE include witnessing domestic violence or neighborhood violence, incarceration of a household member, substance abuse within the household or economic hardship. In fact, abuse is no small part of the sad statistic showing that 43 percent of children born to poor families will remain poor into adulthood.
A healthy family, free of the threat of child abuse and neglect, is the bedrock to a successful future for our children and our community. Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph Children & Family Services helps serve those families in need and lift children out of the misery of abuse.
The impact we made last year:
Catholic Charities offers a variety of family programming aimed at educating and supporting parents on healthy family functioning, parenting competencies and appropriate child development. The goal is to prevent that abuse, neglect or exposure to adverse childhood experiences. In addition to the educational components of service delivery, Children & Family Services offers additional supportive services such emergency assistance, mental health counseling, benefit access and transportation assistance.
In fiscal year 2018, Catholic Charities served:
- 571 children
- 365 parents
- 275 families
We helped those people in need by providing
- Case management services
- Parenting education opportunities
- Supportive services
- Screening for child development.
A total of 223 parents received individual parenting education, and 157 parents attended parenting classes. Of the children screened for cognitive and social development utilizing the Ages & Stages Assessment Tool, 90 percent of children demonstrated appropriate growth development.
Case management services typically range in length from 90 days to 1 year post delivery. Child services include children ages birth up to 5 years old. Understanding that education and support are critical to safe parenting, 91 percent of parents tell us they have gained increased parenting knowledge necessary for safe and healthy parenting. Of the people we give case-management services to, fully 97 percent successfully set at least one stability goal.
Unfortunately, youth like Brendon are always among us, and the need to counter child abuse and neglect never disappears. However, through our mobile outreach efforts, we can reach the people who, unlike Brendon, can’t make their own way to our offices.