Child safety advocates employing 'an army' to get the word out on abuse


by Staff

Posted on October 30, 2012 at 5:44 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 30 at 6:00 PM

( -- With a rash of recent cases of child abuse, questions abound as to how much is being done to protect children.

News 4 talked with a hospital social worker, child abuse expert, and nurses to find out what systems are in place to prevent child abuse.

Many say there is a system in place for people to get help to prevent abuse, but some people aren’t using it.

The St. Louis Crisis Nursery says it used to have a “team” of volunteers that would hand out fliers to get the word out that help was available, but that wasn’t good enough, so now it has an “army.”

At SSM Depaul, the mothers of newborns must go through a “going home” class before leaving.

The session includes talks about shaken baby syndrome, physical and emotional abuse and the stress that leads to child abuse.

Within 48 hours after leaving, the hospital calls to check on the baby snd the mom to see if she’s eating right and getting rest.

“If she is stressed, … we talk about some of the stress management ideas,” said Kerry Reinhardt of SSM Depaul.

The St. Louis Crisis Nursery puts out more than 10,000 fliers a year to get the word out that free help is available. 

Workers go into healthcare clinics, community meetings and daycare centers.

“We also target laundromats, check-cashing places, day labor, anywhere, again, where low income families without resources might go,” said Dianne Mueller of the Nursery.

The focus is usually on lower income and younger mothers. According to social worker Cindy Evers, many young mothers may be embarrassed, and therefore stay silent.

“A lot of these teen moms that need that extra help are just reluctant to basically say I do need that help,” she said. “I highly encourage them.”

Even with all the efforts, Mueller says there can always be more done to protect children.

“As long as kids are still getting hurt and as long as kids are still dying there is not enough being done,” she said.