OUR STORY

The St. Louis Area Council on Child Abuse and Neglect (CoCAN) was established as a collaborative council in 1975 to meet the need for professional networking, education, and advocacy on behalf of children in St. Louis regarding child abuse and neglect. The founding members were: Bill Siedhoff of St. Louis City Division of Family Services, Virginia Allen of St. Louis County Division of Family Services, Wilbur Long of St. Louis City Juvenile Court, and Ken Hensiek of St. Louis County Juvenile Court. Washington University Child Guidance Clinic, St. Louis County Child Mental Health, Cardinal Glennon, and St. Louis Children’s Hospital were also involved in CoCAN’s development. The first Co-Chairs were Virginia Allen and Armand Brodeur, M.D.

CoCAN was affiliated with the Mental Health Association from 1975 to 1986. In 1986, CoCAN entered into a collaborative agreement with the St. Louis Child Abuse Network, which later changed its name to Family Support Network. CoCAN’s partnership with the Family Support Network continued for many years, and they are still a member agency through Epworth.

In order to achieve its mission, CoCAN has collaborated with many St. Louis community organizations over the years. St. Vincent Home for Children and Boys Hope Girls Hope provided the venue for CoCAN’s training workshops. Since 2011, we have held our quarterly trainings at the Heights. After meeting at the Kathy J. Weinman Children’s Advocacy Center for many years, we moved our Board meetings and permanent mailing address to Vision for Children at Risk.

In 2007, the CoCAN Board embarked on an effort to revitalize the organization. Key measures included a strategic planning process, the revision of critical documents including the By-Laws, and the development of several marketing tools, especially an enhanced website. As part of CoCAN’s marketing efforts, youth served by our member organizations were invited to submit entries for CoCAN’s “New Logo Contest”. Brijhette F. of Boys Hope Girls Hope won the contest with her imaginative offering of a childhood favorite: the crayon.

CoCAN is an all-volunteer board, comprised of professionals from the health, mental health, social service, legal and educational fields. We have no staff and no agenda beyond sharing advocacy and education efforts with the St. Louis child welfare community. Our efforts are guided by the needs of our members. Please contact us at stlcocan@gmail.com with feedback and suggestions.

 


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