The Child Center, Inc., is here to allow children to share their experience of abuse or neglect in a child-friendly and non-threatening environment. At The Child Center, Inc., we operate by what we call the Child First Doctrine; meaning that the child and their well-being is our first priority. We welcome you to look at the Children’s Services page to see all the different types of services we provide.
Child & Family Advocacy
Advocacy services are made available to all children and families who are seen for a Forensic Interview. The primary role of an advocate is to help reduce trauma for the child and non-offending family members and to be an on-going support for the child and family. The Child Center, Inc. advocates provide follow-up services which include referrals for community support, assistance with navigating the criminal justice system and crisis intervention work.
The Child Center, Inc. functions as part of a Multi-disciplinary Team(MDT) with partners in each of the 14 counties. Members of the MDT may include: members of Law Enforcement, Children's Division workers, the Prosecuting Attorney's office, Juvenile Justice Center staff, Medial SAFE Providers, child and family advocates, and mental health therapists. Each agency or professional on the MDT has a specific role in the investigation. The Forensic Interviewer is also a member of the MDT, however, the Forensic Interviewer serves as a neutral participant.
The purpose of MDT involvement for all interventions is to assure that the unique needs of children are recognized and met. Informed decision-making occurs at all stages of the case so that children and families benefit from a coordinated response.
The purpose of a Forensic Interview is to obtain a statement from a child or developmentally disabled adult in a developmentally and culturally sensitive, unbiased and fact-finding manner. The Child Center, Inc. has expert Forensic Interviewers on staff to complete interviews for children and developmentally disabled adults who may have experienced sexual abuse, physical abuse, neglect and for children who witness a violent crime. This interview is the beginning phase of an investigation and/or the criminal justice system along with the related services to assist the child and non-offending family member in the healing process.
The Child Center, Inc. has taken an additional step to ensure that children and developmentally disabled adults have support during their Forensic Interview by adding a Facility Dog to our team. The presence of a Facility Dog can be a source of comfort and may allow a child to share more about their experience.
Mental Health Therapy
After the Forensic Interview, The Child Center, Inc. provides a trauma assessment and specialized trauma-focused therapy services at no cost to the family. Without this intervention, many children will suffer ongoing or long term adverse social, emotional, and developmental outcomes as a result of their abuse that may impact them throughout their lifetimes.
A Sexual Abuse Forensic Exam (SAFE) is recommended for all children who may have experienced skin to skin contact by an alleged perpetrator. SAFE exams must be conducted by a trained medical professional. The exams are comprehensive and are a head to toe exam that is non-invasive. SAFE exams are important for two main reasons- to see if there are any medical concerns or physical evidence and also to reassure the child that their body is normal and healthy.
At this time, The Child Center, Inc. provides assistance for children to receive quality SAFE at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center.
Date of Birth: September 21, 2013
Weight: 45 pounds
Breed: Chocolate Lab
Hobbies: Hanging out with humans- especially the little ones, cuddling on the couch, and playing ball for the thrill of the chase!
Reka is trained by CHAMP Assistance Dogs. She can perform over 40 commands and is a graduate of an accredited service dog program.
Reka’s primary job at The Child Center is to provide comfort and support during a forensic interview. Reka is extremely well behaved and loves children!
How you can help!
Purchase a Reka Plush Puppy for the children who use Reka during their forensic interview. If you are interested in adopting a Reka Plush Puppy please call 636-332-0899. The puppies are $25 for two, one is for you and the other one goes to a child after their interview!
Learn more about facility dogs: Facility Dogs at a CAC
Frequently Asked Questions
The Child Center, Inc. interviews children & teens ages 3-17 and vulnerable adults who report sexual or physical abuse or witness a crime. The goal is to reduce a victim’s trauma by avoiding multiple interviews by several different investigating agencies.
Report Child Abuse
If you suspect child abuse, call the Missouri Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-392-3738
If you are calling from out-of-state: 573-751-3448