COCAN Policy Notes- JUNE 2015

The mission of COCAN is to promote advocacy, education and legislative action to improve the lives of children at risk of abuse and neglect. We strive to 1) provide networking opportunities for professionals and community organizations working with children and families, 2) promote awareness of public, private and community organizations and resources focusing on child abuse/neglect, and 3) foster coordinated legislative and administrative advocacy on behalf of abused and neglected children. 


  • The Family Resource and Fun Fair was held April 18 as part of National Child Abuse Prevention Month. COCAN partnered with several other organizations to sponsor the informative and fun event for families to learn about services in our communities.

  • GOOD NEWS: Senators McCaskill and Blunt both voted for the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) which was signed by President Obama on April 16th.  MACRA also renewed the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program for an additional two years.

  • BAD NEWS: For the third year, the Missouri Legislature failed to extend/expand Medicaid. Solid recent studies have confirmed Medicaid Expansion is saving lives and states’ money, helping low-income patients in 28 states and DC get better access to care.


  • On June 3, COCAN partnered with several other groups for an end-of-legislative-year review of our state’s legislative actions affecting children and families.  Presenters for this well-attended and important event included Amy Blouin of the Missouri Budget Project, Judy Dungan of the Missouri Children’s Leadership Council, and Emily van Schenkhof of MissouriKidsFirst.

  • Each of the speakers gave a well-organized summary of important bills and budgetary issues. Their presentations were followed by an opportunity for the audience to participate with questions and comments.

  • Particularly relevant to COCAN members, the following bill passed: SB 341(Sen. Jeanie Riddle) gives the Children’s Division the authority to do family assessments around youths with sexual behavior problems. Funding for child-abuse investigators in the Division was increased via the General Assembly by $200,000 to implement this bill. Youths who are behaving sexually with another child/or children will be better evaluated and ideally treated.

  • The Department of Mental Health’s funding was increased by $500,000 to create a network of mental health providers trained to treat children who have experienced trauma. For the coming year, this money will be dedicated to creating a learning collaborative around evidence-based interventions.

  • The audience was able to understand how connected the issues of child abuse and neglect are to poverty, health, education, race, daycare, etc.  Ruth Ehresman of Vision for Children concluded the event commenting on the racial and economic inequalities in St. Louis, challenging us by saying “inaction is not a choice”- we must help kids beat the odds!



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