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The Child Abuse and Neglect Collaborative, also known as the CAN collaborative, officially launched their new website today addressing education and prevention of child abuse in the Ozarks. Howitends.org aims to be a user-friendly resource for parents, children, and professionals, as KSMU’s Shannon Bowers reports.
The website highlights six priorities all focused on educating the public to identify, prevent, and educate others in hopes of stopping the cycle of abuse. Green County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Patterson said the website is just one tool in the collaborative’s tool box.
“We know that child abuse is cyclical from generations. It is learned behavior what we have to do is relearn and break those cycles that exist… the best part about this website is many time people have questions. What do I do? What resources are available, and it is a place you can come and go and get those recourses,” said Patterson.
Priorities for the CAN Collaborative were determined following the issuance of a survey asking the faith-based community of the actions they take to prevent and educate their congregation on child abuse.
Christina Ryder is with Missouri State University’s Sociology Department, which conducted the study.
“There is a tremendous amount of interest in the faith community for additional resources, additional information and ways to participate and assist in this effort,” said Ryder.
The study found that out of the 46 large to medium sized congregations who responded to the survey, 30% wished to have some sort of an education fair where trained child abuse and neglect professionals come in and speak with the congregation.
Howitends.org includes a list of all the community partners working with the CAN Collaborative to allow for easier connection with the local groups. It also includes ways to get involved and provides what chair of the CAN Collaborative, Darrel Moore, thinks will eventually bring legislative advocacy to the issue.
“Our children should be our priority because those children are going to be the workforce, the backbone of the state. So what we are going to try to do as a group is grab the consciousness of the legislature and the Governor and say… You need to make sure the children’s division is adequately staffed, trained, and paid,” said Moore.
Last year in Greene County 5,795 children were reported to the Abuse and Neglect Hotline, according to the Missouri Children’s Division’s Annual Report. Howitends.org is just the beginning on a long road to prevention.
For KSMU news, I’m Shannon Bowers.