#Essential4Kids: Resources to Protect Kids From Abuse During Social Distancing

In times of crisis and economic insecurity, rates of child abuse and neglect increase. However, reports to Missouri’s Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline have declined dramatically during the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. When children stay at home, they are isolated from places where adults often look out for their safety and well-being including schools, child care facilities, places of worship and other public areas.  

We need all adults to step up: family members, neighbors, essential workers serving families in grocery stores and pharmacies and delivering goods to homes and school professionals who are still working with children virtually. ALL ADULTS need to be aware of their responsibility to protect children.

You are essential to child safety during this time. Below you will find information on how to recognize that a child is unsafe and respond. These resources are designed for essential workers serving on the ground to keep our communities running during the COVID-19 crisis, school professionals during this time of virtual learning, and the general public.

Raise awareness. Awareness and advocacy are critical to child abuse prevention and intervention. Share this page, the resources and videos on social media or make your own! Use the hashtag #Essential4Kids so we can keep track of your advocacy.

Join us. YOU are #Essential4Kids!

All Adults

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Essential Workers
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Resources for School Personnel and other Mandated Reporters

Safe Online Learning: For Teachers (Darkness to Light)
As you educators navigate online learning, it’s important to remember that in the physical classroom environment there are classroom rules and child protection policies – these still apply to your digital environment, they just need to be adjusted for online schooling. This resource provides ideas for online safety protocols for remote schooling.

Homeless Students and Students with Experience in Foster Care (The Hope Center)
This guide aims to provide concrete tips and resources in order to support students who are homeless or with experience in foster care during the COVID-19 crisis in order to promote health and educational success.

Protecting Children in Virtual Learning Environments (Beau Biden Foundation)
Resources to promote safe practices in online learning environments.

Educator Resources (Monique Burr Foundation)
This resource provides educators with free trainings and resources related to a wide variety of topics related to child and neglect, online safety, and other topics.

Resources for Caregivers and All Adults Who Care About Children

COVID-19 Caregiver Guide to Helping Families Cope With the Coronavirus Disease (National Traumatic Stress Network)
Caregivers and children may have worries about catching COVID-19. See these helpful multilingual resources from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network for your clients and families. English, Spanish, and Chinese guides are available. 

Resources for Supporting Children’s Emotional Well-being during the COVID-19 Pandemic (Child Trends)
This resource provides guidance, recommendations, and resources by child trauma experts at Child Trends and the Child Trauma Training Center at the University of Massachusetts.

Strengthening Protective Factors to Protect Children from Abuse (Child Trends)
This resource explores how protective factors can buffer children from harm and increase the chances they adapt positively to adversities such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Families and communities can work together to promote these protective factors.

How to Be a Safe Adult (Darkness to Light)
Cultivating a healthy, trusting relationship with kids is actually one of the best protections against abuse. Children will be less vulnerable to people who would violate their boundaries and more likely to tell you if they are uncomfortable or if abuse occurs. This resource from Darkness to Light offers practical tools and strategies to establish strong relationships to become the “safe adult” in the lives of children you care about.

Minimizing Opportunities During Coronavirus Quarantine (Darkness to Light)
Minimizing opportunities for one on one interaction with a potential abuser is challenging with the current stay at home orders.  For children who live with their abusers, this resource provides concrete steps adults can take to create safer home environment.

Training: Protecting Children During a Crisis (Darkness to Light)
Darkness to Light’s “Protecting Children During a Crisis” is designed to help caregivers and advocates navigate through the unusual circumstances faced during times of crisis. This training will help you consider your current child protective strategies, help you identify the new situation, and help you change your strategy.

Monique Burr Foundation’s Parent Resource Page
This resource provides parents and caregivers with free trainings and resources related to a wide variety of topics related to child welfare.

Digital Safety Resources

Re-Think Cyber Safety Rules and the Tech Talk With Your Teens (STOP.THINK.CONNECT)
Tip sheet for parents on how to talk to their teens about online safety. STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™ is the global online safety awareness campaign to help all digital citizens stay safer and more secure online. The campaign message was created by a coalition of private companies, non-profits and government organizations with leadership provided by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and the APWG.

NetSmartz for Kids Workshop (National Center for Missing and Exploited Children)
NetSmartz provides age-appropriate videos and activities to help teach children be safer online with the goal of helping children to become more aware of potential online risks and empowering them to help prevent victimization by making safer choices on- and offline. Topics include cyberbullying, online enticement, smartphones, gaming, sexting and sextortion and social media.

Cyberbullying and Digital Safety (Monique Burr Foundation)
Learn the risks to children from cyberbullying and other risks associated with technology use. Become educated and empowered to help children and teens stay safe.

Training: Real World Safety-Protecting Youth Online & Off (Monique Burr Foundation)
This free online course teaches parents and other adults the risks to children from bullying, online and off, and other risks associated with technology use.

How to Talk to Teens about Dealing with Online Predators (Common Sense Media)
Use this script to kick off a conversation with your child.

Digital Safety Tips (Darkness to Light)

Raising Digital Citizens (National Cyber Security Alliance)
Teach your children to become good digital citizens with these resources.

Internet Safety (Common Sense Media)
This resource helps to showcase some of the Internet safety facts by providing information for teachers about the myths and realities of online sexual solicitation, as well as guidance on how to approach this sensitive topic.

PTA Connected (National PTA)
PTA Connected strives to help children act safely, responsibly and thoughtfully online.

Connect Safely.org’s “Great Internet Safety Resources”


Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline
The hotline is dedicated to the prevention of child abuse.  It is staffed by professional crisis counselors who—through interpreters—provide assistance in over 170 languages. The hotline offers crisis intervention, information, and referrals to thousands of emergency, social service, and support resources. All calls are confidential.

1-800-4A-CHILD (422-4453)
HOURS OF OPERATION: 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week

Darkness to Light National Helpline
Darkness to Light provides a toll-free number for individuals living in the United States who would like have questions answered or chat with a trained crisis counselor regarding resources and responding to child sexual abuse.

1-866-FOR-LIGHT (866-367-5444) or Text “LIGHT” to 741741
HOURS OF OPERATION: 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week

ParentLink Warmline
ParentLink has been serving Missouri families since 1989. The ParentLink Warmline or Kinship Navigator could be especially helpful for parents/careigivers needing information, direction to resources, or even just a sympathetic ear. It is answered by Masters-level professionals.

For all Families: 1-800-552-8522
Kinship Navigator Line for kinship caregiving: 1-833-KIN-4-KID
HOURS OF OPERATION: 8am to 10pm Monday through Friday and 12pm to 5pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

National Parent Helpline
Being a parent is a critically important job, 24 hours a day. It’s not always easy. Call the National Parent Helpline® to get emotional support from a trained Advocate and become empowered and a stronger parent.

HOURS OF OPERATION: Monday through Friday 12:00PM CST to 9:00 PM CST

National Sexual Assault Hotline 
As the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, RAINN operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE) and Safe Helpline for the U.S. Department of Defense. RAINN also offers advice if you suspect a child being harmed. (English-language website with Spanish-language resources at https://rainn.org/es).

National Domestic Violence Hotline
Hotline advocates assist victims, and anyone calling on their behalf, by providing crisis intervention, safety planning and referrals to local service providers.  

If you are unable to speak safely, you can log onto https://www.thehotline.org/ or text LOVEIS to 22522
HOURS OF OPERATION: 24 hours of day/ 7 days a week

Disaster Distress Hotline
The toll-free Disaster Distress Helpline can provide immediate counseling to anyone who needs help dealing with the aftermath of a traumatic incident. This is a free, confidential, and multilingual crisis support service. Callers and texters are connected to trained and caring professionals from crisis counseling centers in the network. The Helpline staff provides confidential counseling, referrals, and other needed support services.

1-800-985-5990 or  Text: “TalkWithUs” to 66746
HOURS OF OPERATION: 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week

Government and Public Health Resources

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is leading the public health response to the COVID-19 virus in Missouri.  This site provides links to all state resources related to COVID-19

Missouri Department of Social Services Children’s Division has created a COVID-19 page to keep Missouri residents on providing needed services you while protecting health of worker and the people served.

Missouri’s 114 local public health agencies operate independently of each other and are independent of state and federal public health agencies. Local public health agencies are leading efforts in responding to and preventing the further spread of COVID-19. Some local municipalities and county governments have instituted more stringent guidelines than statewide orders. You can find a link to your local public health agency and any local guidelines through the following site.

For immediate help, please call Missouri’s Statewide Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline: 1-800-392-3738

Missouri KidsFirst is not a 24-hour service provider and does not provide crisis services.

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