The Children’s Justice Act Task Force was established by the Children’s Division, in conjunction with federal legislation, to improve the prosecution and handling of child abuse and neglect cases, and to reduce trauma to child victims of abuse. The members of the Task Force seek to benefit and enhance children’s lives by recommending improvements in child abuse and neglect laws, policies, programs, professional education and public awareness, and to provide funding, through grants, to support these recommendations.
In an effort to identify any service gaps or specific issues that Task Force funding may be helpful in addressing, we hope to engage the various professionals who interact with the child welfare system statewide, and concerned Missouri citizens in our effort to collect information. We are asking you to complete this survey to inform the Task Force about investigation, prosecution and treatment of child abuse in Missouri. Information provided in this survey will remain confidential and your e-mail address will not be associated with your responses. The results from this survey will be used to develop recommendations for systems improvement.
In Missouri, cases of child abuse/neglect are investigated using a multi-disciplinary team approach. A brief description of the roles of the core members of the multi-disciplinary team is as follows:

-Children’s Division: The Children’s Division provides protective services to children and their families in accordance with Chapters 207, 210, and 211 RSMo., and other applicable law. The Children’s Division conducts investigations to assess the child's safety and to provide rehabilitative services to children and their families as well as to make determinations of child abuse or neglect. The Children’s Division immediately notifies the appropriate law enforcement agency of receipt of any hotline call report regarding child abuse or any other crime against a child in accordance with Missouri statute and policies and procedures established by the Children’s Division.

-Law Enforcement: Law enforcement investigates reports of child abuse and neglect reported to be criminal in nature, determines whether or not a crime has been committed, and presents information to the proper authorities for prosecution. Law enforcement co-investigates reports of child abuse/neglect with the Children’s Division.

-Prosecuting Attorney: The prosecuting attorney assesses the legal aspects of child abuse/neglect investigative cases presented to him/her and determines on a case by case basis whether or not further pursuit of remedies available through the criminal justice system is warranted.

-Child Advocacy Center: Child Advocacy Centers participate and assist in the coordination of the multi-disciplinary team approach to investigating child abuse/neglect and seek justice for child victims of abuse including sexual abuse, serious physical abuse, and/or neglect. Child Advocacy Centers provide variety of services to children and families involved in child abuse/neglect investigations including, but not limited to, forensic interviews of children alleged to be victims of child physical and/or sexual abuse and Sexual Assault Findings Examinations (SAFE).

-Juvenile Office: The juvenile office provides assistance with the multi-disciplinary team investigative process by utilizing its statutory authority to file petitions with the juvenile court when the allegations and investigative findings warrant such action, take protective custody of children when deemed appropriate and necessary, and properly adjudicate child abuse/neglect and delinquency allegations.

-Medical Provider: In this context, medical providers are those physicians and nurse practitioners who have received specialized training in the examination of children who may have been sexually assaulted, physically abused and/or neglected. These medical personnel conduct appropriate medical evaluations, wh

* 1. (Check all that apply) I am currently a:

* 2. County:

* 3. My experience being involved with Missouri Child Welfare is:

* 4. Questions to capture your experience and perceptions of the investigation and prosecution of child abuse in Missouri:

  Strongly Agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly Disagree
Investigations of child abuse allegations are handled effectively.
Investigations of child abuse allegations are handled timely.
The Children’s Division responds to and oversees cases of child abuse and/or neglect in an effective manner
The Children’s Division responds to and oversees cases of child abuse and/or neglect in a timely manner
The court which oversees child welfare cases handles and processes those cases in an effective manner.
The court which oversees child welfare cases handles and processes those cases in a timely manner.
Perpetrators of child abuse receive swift prosecution for acts of child abuse/neglect they commit.
Perpetrators of child abuse receive appropriate prosecution for acts of child abuse/neglect they commit.
Prosecutors are well equipped to prosecute citizens who abuse or neglect children as defined in Missouri law.
Missouri law defining child abuse/neglect is adequate and appropriate.
Child victims of abuse or neglect receive adequate services to mitigate the lasting effects of the trauma suffered.
Defense attorneys are equipped to defend citizens who abuse or neglect children as defined in Missouri law.

* 5. What would you identify as barriers to the effective handling and prosecution of child abuse/neglect cases?

* 6. What would you identify as best practice, innovative or model programs you are aware of in other jurisdictions which would (directly or indirectly) improve the handling and prosecution of child abuse/neglect cases?

* 7. What would you identify as best practice, innovative or model programs you are aware of in other jurisdictions which would (directly or indirectly) assist in reducing trauma for child victims of this abuse?

* 8. What resources would benefit you, as you work to improve your own handling of child abuse and neglect cases?

* 9. What information or training would benefit you, as you work to improve your own handling of child abuse and neglect cases?

T