Human Services

The Child Advocacy Center of Northeast Missouri Inc

aka The Child Center Inc   |   Wentzville, MO   |


Responding to child abuse through a supportive team approach to reduce the trauma to children and their families. Healing - Helping - Hope

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Elphanie Swift

Main address

989 Heritage Parkway

Wentzville, MO 63385 USA

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Cause area (NTEE code) info

Children's and Youth Services (P30)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

One out of every four girls, and one out of every six boys, will experience some form of sexual abuse by the time they are 18 years of age. Statistics indicate that in any given incident of child sexual abuse, there is frequently more than one child involved, not to mention the trauma experienced by other family member(s) as a result of the same incident. An estimated 1,564 children died from abuse and neglect in the United States in 2014. However, child abuse fatalities are not the only consequence. Sexual abuse, physical abuse, and neglect are forms of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) that have been linked to mental health problems, such as mood disorders, anxiety, substance abuse, and impulse control disorders. Adults with multiple ACES have even been shown to be more likely to endure poor health outcomes like diabetes, STDs, heart disease, and early death. In short, without intervention, child abuse causes lifelong problems.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Intervention Program

Providing services to children when there are concerns of possible abuse or neglect, or when the child has witnessed violence against another person. 1. Forensic Interview- conducted in a supportive and non-leading manner by a professional trained in the National CAC forensic interview model. The purpose is to obtain a statement from a child or developmentally disabled adult in a developmentally and culturally sensitive, unbiased and fact-finding manner. 2. Child and Family Advocacy- to help reduce trauma for the child and non-offending family members and to be an on-going support for the child and family. Provide follow-up services which include referrals for community support, assistance with navigating the criminal justice system and crisis intervention work. 3. Mental Health- Trauma assessment and specialized trauma-focused therapy services for children who have gone through the forensic interview process, and their non-offending family members. Through a multi-disciplinary team approach which may include members of law enforcement. medical professionals, child and family advocates, mental health professionals, members of Children's Division, attorneys, and forensic interviewers, children who have disclosed instances of abuse or neglect, or experienced or witnessed violence receive services to reduce the trauma.

Population(s) Served
K-12 (5-19 years)
People with disabilities

Prevention Program: Offering prevention education programs for children, parents, and professionals in the community. 1. School-based programs- provided for children beginning pre-k through middle school, including topics on body safety, Internet safety/online enticement, and sexual harassment. The primary focus is to educate children about appropriate boundaries and empower victims to disclose abuse to safe and trusted adults. 2. Parent and Professionals education seminars- designed to educate and inform on topics such as body safety, Internet safety, and the sexual predator grooming process. 3. Mandated Reporter Training.

Population(s) Served
K-12 (5-19 years)

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of children served

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth (0-19 years)

Related Program

Prevention Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Context Notes

These are the number of abused children under the age of 18 that have received a forensic interview by our professionals.

Charting impact

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

The Child Center's mission is to respond to child abuse through a supportive team approach to reduce the trauma to children and their families. Before Child Advocacy Centers were established, and the multidisciplinary team (MDT) approach was implemented, when a child would tell her teacher she is being hurt at home, that child would talk to her teacher, principal, and a school nurse who would examine her. Then the school would call the hotline and a police officer would talk to the child, followed by a social worker and possibly a nurse or physician. If a detective was assigned to the case, he would take the child to a specialized hospital for another exam and another conversation with a social worker. This process would be followed by a conversation with a child protection investigator, a lawyer and finally a counselor. Children were interviewed multiple times by multiple people, causing the child to repeatedly relive the trauma they had experienced. The CAC model is based on the belief that the combined professional wisdom and skill of the MDT approach results in a more complete understanding of case issues and the most effective child and family-focused system response possible. The MDT includes professionals who investigate crimes of child abuse and neglect. Typically, the MDT includes law enforcement, child protective services, prosecuting attorneys, juvenile officers, mental health professionals, medical professionals, advocates and forensic interviewers. The team works together to ensure that an investigation revolves around the best interest of a child and to reduce any unnecessary redundancy, including multiple interviews of the child. This approach has been widely adopted as a best practice in responding to child sexual abuse in the United States. Throughout the United States, there are now 795 Child Advocacy Centers which served more than 311,000 children last year, and this model has now been implemented in more than 33 countries throughout the world.

The Child Center, Inc. uses a trauma-informed approach to provide forensic interviews, advocacy, mental health therapy, and school and community-based prevention education programs. Children and their families have access to all services at The Child Center regardless of ability to pay. Forensic Interviews Forensic interviewers are trained in a nationally recognized protocol to ask questions in non-leading, non-suggestive ways. The interview is conducted in a child-friendly setting and observed by the MDT through closed-circuit television. The MDT is comprised of members of local law enforcement, child protective services, juvenile officers, mental health professionals, advocates and forensic interviewers. The DVD of the recorded interview becomes a permanent record and may be viewed as often as necessary by members of the investigative team. This minimizes the need for child victims to repeat their disclosure, while allowing professionals to gather all of the information they need to prosecute the case. Child & Family Advocacy Children are often relieved to finally talk about what happened. They often feel better after talking about what happened and can begin to heal. However, the parent or caregiver is reeling from the disclosure. In addition to the shock of finding out what happened, they may be faced with practical problems like losing health insurance, transportation, food or even the place they live because the perpetrator is removed from the home. The Child & Family Advocate is typically the first person to ask an overwhelmed caregiver what they need to get through this trauma and begin healing. They provide resources to help meet urgent needs and support for the child and caregiver throughout the duration of the case. Advocates provide on-going support, resources and education and walk them through what can be a very overwhelming and confusing criminal justice system. Mental Health Therapy After the forensic interview, children are referred to mental health therapy. The Child Center, Inc. has therapists on site. Because the need for therapy is so great, we also contract with local therapists who are trained in trauma-focused modalities. The purpose of therapy is to create and/or enhance emotional resiliency within the child and their involved caregiver. This helps to reduce the traumatic impact of abuse and to provide healthy coping skills for the future. All of this creates a healthy environment where trauma-focused mental health services nurture long term recovery and healing. Prevention Education The primary focus of our school-based prevention programs is to educate children about appropriate boundaries and empower victims to disclose abuse to trusted adults. We also want to improve the way adults respond to disclosures so that children can receive early intervention and protection. We offer Mandated Reporter Training for professionals who work with children and Parent programs tailored to meet their needs.

The Child Center, Inc. will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2020. During the last twenty years, the agency has become one of, if not the most respected and influential Child Advocacy Center in Missouri. The organization is uniquely qualified to meet the needs of child victims and their families. Those qualifications include, but are not limited to: •Nearly 6,000 individual forensic interviews with children who visited The Child Center, Inc. to talk about what happened to them. •Sexual Abuse education programs for nearly 255,000 individuals including body safety, internet safety and online enticement prevention for children and parents and mandated reporter training for educators, day care providers, first responders and other professionals who work with children. •The Child Center, Inc. has presented the Midwest Justice for Children Conference since 2004. The conference has become a training destination for those looking for training that equips them with the new and current tools they need to better respond to children and families in crisis. In recent years, 94% of those attending rated the Midwest Justice for Children Conference as either good or excellent. •The Child Center, Inc. is led by a board of directors who advise, govern, oversee policy and direction, and assist with the leadership and financial promotion of the agency. Board members may serve two consecutive three year terms. •The staff is led by the Executive Director and department supervisors including the Supervisor of Forensic Services, Supervisor of Prevention Education, Clinical Supervisor (Mental Health Therapy), Business/Finance Manager and Development Director. •The financial strength and stability of the organization comes in part from the diversity of its funding sources. This diversification allows the agency to avoid being too dependent on one funding source. A portion of funding is received through public sources, contracts and grants, and fees for services. A comprehensive development plan has been established to increase funding to the agency, and the agency is growing in its ability to raise private dollars through individuals, corporations, private grant makers, and strategic fundraising events. An annual giving campaign was begun in 2015, and a corporate giving/sponsorship program was implemented in 2016. Individual and corporate funding, combined with a robust grant program, ensure the agency’s financial future. All of these activities and accomplishments work together to help The Child Center, Inc. achieve our mission: responding to child abuse through a supportive team approach to reduce the trauma to children and their families.

The Child Center Inc. has a strong track record of program evaluation, assessment and improvement. Several tools and methods are used to evaluate the effectiveness of programs and meet accountability requirements of funders. The Outcome Measurement System (OMS) is a standardized, research-based system of surveys designed measure performance, based on stakeholder satisfaction. The system is managed by the National Children's Alliance (NCA). OMS surveys are related to services provided/received, timeliness, knowledge of staff, satisfaction, etc. The surveys may be submitted electronically (with a tablet) for scoring and review, allowing for client’s privacy and anonymity. Data and statistics relating to every facet of case management are compiled through the Missouri Kids First Database, a web-based program used by all 15 child advocacy centers in the state of Missouri. This system tracks forensic interview case statistics, advocacy services, demographics, timeframes and other related data. The Child Center, Inc. also tracks key performance metrics through the Performance Measurement Tool (PMT) system to provide accurate and timely reports that satisfy grant requirements for Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funding. Mental health statistics and progress are recorded by each Therapist in Monthly Therapy Reports and aggregated by the Clinical Supervisor. The results compiled through the Outcome Measurement System (OMS), Missouri Kids First Database, VOCA quarterly reports and Monthly Therapy Reports are reviewed at least quarterly by The Child Center, Inc. staff. In 2020, the Board of Directors will convene a new Program Committee. This group will also review outcomes and surveys twice a year to identify areas for improvement. All this feedback is used to make any necessary changes to the methodology of the services offered to families and team members. Prevention education programs are assessed in a post evaluation that is completed both by the participants (children, parents, professionals) and also by those requesting prevention education services (schools, businesses, etc).

The Child Center, Inc. is one of 15 nationally accredited Child Advocacy Centers, in the state of Missouri that provides services to child victims and their involved caregivers. The Child Center, Inc. has three locations that provide services in the 14 northeastern counties in Missouri. The Child Center, Inc. was incorporated as a non-profit 501 (c) 3 agency in January 2000, and initial funding was received from DSS. The agency began providing services for child victims in five counties from the Wentzville site. By 2004, the number of counties served grew to 11 and a site was opened in Hannibal, Missouri to serve children in the six northern counties. By 2008, three more counties in northeast Missouri were added for services by The Child Center, but the commute for them was two hours or more. In December 2010, we opened a site in Memphis, Missouri, making services more accessible for families and team members growing our service area to include the fourteen (14) counties of St. Charles, Lincoln, Warren, Montgomery, Pike, Ralls, Marion, Monroe, Shelby, Lewis, Clark, Knox, Scotland and Schuyler. The main office is located in Wentzville with satellite offices located in Hannibal and Memphis. The Child Center, Inc. became an Associate Member of NCA in February 2001 and obtained Full Membership and Accreditation in October 2004. We were reaccredited in 2010 and 2015.


The Child Advocacy Center of Northeast Missouri Inc

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


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The Child Advocacy Center of Northeast Missouri Inc

Board of directors
as of 3/3/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Julie Seymore

Treatment Court Administrator, 11th Judicial Circuit Ct.

Term: 2014 -

Amy Dunning

St. Charles Convention Center

Juli Hillyer

Dept of Mental Health/Division of DD

Dan Mudd

Anders CPA & Advisors

Charles "Chuck" Brooks

Commerce Bank

Angie Harness

St. Louis Realty

Chris Schulte

Julie Seymore

Jared Howell

Hazelwood & Weber, LLC

Carri DeHart

St. Louis Children's Hospital

Melissa Bailey

Lake St. Louis Neighbors

Heathetr Cushing

Right at Home

Yvette Hipskind

Missouri Attorney General's Office

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 02/21/2020

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Black/African American/African
Gender identity
Female, Not Transgender (Cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation


Equity strategies

Last updated: 02/21/2020

Policies and practices developed in partnership with Equity in the Center, a project that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems within the social sector to increase racial equity. Learn more

Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.


Child Advocacy