Child Advocacy Day 2020

Child Advocacy Day 2020

Elaina Gorton

April is Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month. 

Today, April 8th, is Child Advocacy Day for the state of Missouri. This event is important to professionals of all types who interact with and work for the benefit of children. One such individual is Home Visitation Program Manager at Services at Easter Seals Midwest, Amy Gorton, “Every year, the Missouri Children’s Trust Fund and other child-focused agencies come together in Jefferson City for Child Advocacy Day.  With the state-wide stay at home order, this year’s event is more important than ever. With many parents out of work and childcare centers and schools closed due to COVID-19, families are getting a lot more “together time”. The stress of limited finances and resources, along with the uncertainty of how long this will all last and the isolation many of us feel, combine to increase the risk of child abuse. Child Advocacy Day offers participants an opportunity for accessing information and resources for families, for collaborating with other agencies and programs, and for connecting to legislators and state leaders. Our children, our families, and our state can come through this health crisis stronger than ever, if we all come #Together4MOKids.” 

Any other year, hundreds of professionals would head down to Jefferson City to attend discussions and seminars on how to best help children in our communities. But due to the coronavirus pandemic, the leaders of the conference have decided to hold their activities virtually throughout this week. You can find more information and register for the event at http://childadvocacyday.org/

Senator Jill Schupp weighed in on the importance of today’s events in a Twitter video message through Kids Win Missouri, “I just want to say thank you for all the work that you do to help with our children. You are front-line providers and you are advocates, and we and our children need you.” 

Despite the changes the event has faced, community leaders across the state are still taking part in the discussions. Attending this morning’s sessions was St. Louis Councilwoman, Lisa Clancy, who tweeted, “Never thought I’d be lobbying from my couch with a grouchy 3-year old’s head in my lap & Dinosaur Train on in the background! But I’m here because I know that investing in MO kids means investing in our future, and we must do that at every level of government.” 

Today’s meetings were opened with a recorded message from Missouri State Senator, Roy Blunt, who presented a greeting to his fellow advocates, “First off, I want to thank you for your dedication to supporting Missouri’s kids, and particularly their well-being during this challenging time.” 

Blunt has held an interest in child advocacy since his time as Secretary of State for Missouri back in 1984, when he helped institute the first workplace-based childcare for the state government. In his address this morning, he touched on how with schools and playgrounds closing due to the coronavirus, the importance of child advocacy has greatly increased, “Your work and the work of kids and the life of kids is even more important to be focussed on than ever.” 

“As chairman of the appropriations committee that funds health-related programs, I’ve really been proud to support significant annual increases for the Child Care and Development Block Grant area of the budget.” Senator Blunt said. 

Senator Blunt closed his address with this, “Thank you for everything you do; all you do for hard-working families, all you do for Missouri’s kids, and especially all you’re doing right now. You’re making a real difference in their lives, I’m grateful for that, I know they are too. Thanks for all you do for Missouri’s kids.” 

So thank you to all of our child advocates, in Missouri and nationally, for all that you do. 

 

For more information on child abuse and neglect prevention, visit The Children’s Trust Fund.