By Mike Duggar, President & CEO, Lutheran Family and Children’s Services of Missouri
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and an opportunity to focus on our collective responsibility to end child abuse and neglect. Across the Unites States, there are approximately 674,000 substanitated cases of maltreatment every year - a number that has been slowly climbing over the last decade. To mitigate continued risk, prevention and intervention are essential.
“We have an obligation to the children and families in Missouri to reduce the rates if abuse and neglect in order to build better tomorrows for everyone in Missouri,” said Mike Duggar, President and CEO of Lutheran Family and Children’s Services of Missouri (LFCS). “Through our foster programs, LFCS helps children in unsafe situations find safe, and loving environments. We are also focused on abuse prevention programs. From pregnancy counseling to parenting education, we proactively equip participants with the skills and coping mechanisms needed to prevent the likelihood of child maltreatment.”
LFCS works to end the cycle of abuse across the state of Missouri through innovative and comprehensive programs, making generations of children and families safer and stronger together. Specialized prevention programs for at-risk expectant and young parents facilitate the pursuit of stable living conditions, higher education, and employment, as well as providing counseling and education to manage life stressors. LFCS intervention services include foster care case management, foster parent recruitment and training, and behavioral health. Collectively, these programs improve the well-being of over 38,000 Missourians each year.
Great strides are being made to end the cycle of abuse, but the work is far from over. According to the Missouri Department of Social Services Children’s Division 2019 Annual Report regarding child abuse and neglect, approximately 65,000 cases of abuse and neglect are reported each year across the state, involving approximately 90,000 children. LFCS believes it is everyone’s responsibility to promote safety, stability, and well-being for all children.
To create awareness, LFCS staff will recognize Go Blue Day on April 3 by wearing blue, the official color of child abuse prevention. Additionally, on April 8, the organization will participate in Missouri Child Advocacy Day by meeting with state representatives and legislators to enact positive change.
Visit lfcsmo.org/get-involved/ to learn more and provide support.
About Lutheran Family and Children’s Services (LFCS)
LFCS, a proud member of the United Way, is a statewide agency with headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri, three regional offices, and over 75 satellite service sites. The mission of LFCS is to empower children and families to overcome challenges today so they can build a better tomorrow. As a nonprofit social services organization, its vision is to make generations of children and families safer and stronger together. LFCS opens doors for people who face poverty, unexpected pregnancy, violence, unemployment, illness, homelessness, and more. To tackle these challenges, LFCS programs are delivered in two key services areas: Family Services and Behavioral Health Services. A dedicated staff delivers professionalism and personal care in equal measure to every situation and each client who visits one of the many offices in Missouri. LFCS services are open to anyone regardless of race, faith, national origin, gender, or age. For more information, call 314-754-2785 or visit lfcsmo.org.