Vaughn facilitates programs focused on child abuse prevention at Child Advocacy Center

Vaughn, Amy

Amy Vaughn sits with Melissa Miller. Together Vaughn and Miller provide programs in the community in schools, churches, and with organizations that work to prevent child abuse. | Photo courtesy of United Way of the Mark Twain Area

HANNIBAL, Mo. — Amy Vaughn is the lead prevention education specialist at the Child Advocacy Center of Northeast Missouri. She joined the Child Advocacy Center in January. As the lead prevention education specialist, she will educate members of the community on preventing child abuse as well as equip people with the knowledge of what to do when abuse or neglect is suspected.

“I’m passionate about kids, the underserved youth, and I was thrilled when this opportunity opened up with an organization that values education,” Vaughn said in a press release.

Vaughn has a history of helping the most disadvantaged youths within the community. Through this role at The Child Advocacy Center, her heart for helping and serving youth will be fulfilled by keeping kids safe.

Vaughn facilitates more than 20 programs focused on child abuse prevention to help make the mission of the Child Advocacy Center come to life in the community.

The Child Advocacy Center works to prevent child abuse and respond when child abuse has occurred to reduce the amount of trauma that occurs to a child. The organization has employed Melissa Miller as a prevention education specialist for several years. She has provided prevention education primarily to students in schools teaching about body safety and consent. Miller provided prevention programs last year to nearly 7,000 United Way of the Mark Twain Area people (mostly students) in the counties served by the United Way of the Mark Twain Area.

Vaughn’s position was added at The Child Advocacy Center to supplement Miller’s efforts but focus primarily on educating adults through school systems, churches and other community groups.

“I am so impressed with the education programs already have in place. All we need to do is go out and present them,” said Vaughn.

Vaughn wants all community members to be educated to keep kids safe. Throughout Child Abuse Prevention Month in April, Vaughn made an effort to share about the work of the Child Advocacy Center in all 10 counties served by the organization’s Hannibal office. Vaughn wants the community to know and understand what the Child Advocacy Center does so various groups can reach out to access the prevention programs she and Miller can facilitate.

Vaughn provides educational programs that focus on sexual abuse prevention and encompass body safety, internet safety, preventing predators in the workplace and what to do as a parent to keep your kids safe and more. She facilitates mandated reporter training as well as training specific for church groups.

“I want to be able to create a space for kids and adults to feel comfortable talking about things that many times people tell them they can’t talk about but are so important to be educated on,” Vaughn said.

The number of referrals to the Child Advocacy Center for reports of abuse has increased yearly. This shows that prevention programming is needed.

“Ninety percent of the kids who are victims of abuse either like, love or live with their abusers. Our programs are geared towards these very real statistics,” Vaughn said. “I explain to kids that it is always OK to tell. I want to give kids the tools and empower them to use their voice.”

Visit https://www.cacnemo.org/ or call 573-221-2256, ext. 125, to learn more about the programs provided by the Child Advocacy Center.

The Child Advocacy Center was selected to be a United Way Community Impact Agency and a beneficiary of United Way’s Be a Light Campaign.

Community members and businesses are encouraged to partner with United Way to be a light to people who rely upon the programs United Way helps fund. People interested in financially supporting the efforts of United Way can give online at unitedwaymta.org or by mailing gifts to P.O. Box 81, Hannibal, MO 63401.

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