The Springfield News-Leader has launched a public-service journalism project to focus public attention on critical challenges facing children, foster discussion and build on existing initiatives. You can read Executive Editor David Stoeffler's introductory column for more information on the project.

The recently created News-Leader's Every Child community advisory committee -- with representatives from the business, government, education, nonprofit, law enforcement, health and faith sectors -- will play an important role. It will educate and advise journalists and help engage other stakeholders and the general public in a discussion and, ultimately, action.

Woman escapes domestic violence to help build a better life for her son

September 16, 2013

Beth is working third shift and secretly hoarding her paychecks. She has a plan to leave, to escape. She thinks of all the things she would later tell a judge: how the man tried to kill himself in front of her and her son, how he threatened her with a knife, how he has slapped her.

Many of the foster-system reforms have helped, but some have hurt

September 16, 2013

Dominic James should have been nearing his 12th birthday by now. He should have been in middle school. He might have grown out of his habit of waving at every passing car when he was outside. Wrestling with his father would no longer be cool.

Smart recalls details of harrowing ordeal

September 16, 2013

Elizabeth Smart, abducted in Utah 10 years ago, often is asked: Are you completely healed? To arrive at an answer, she did a personal inventory. “I feel wonderful,” she said. “I don’t think I’ve ever been happier,” she added.

State neglecting children

June 30, 2012

If the state of Missouri were a parent, it might be rightly charged with neglect. In what has become an all-too-familiar story, we learn once again how the state is failing in its duty to properly and quickly investigate child abuse and neglect reports.

Every Child continues to teach

June 23, 2012

It was the kind of photo that made you want to turn your head away, or simply turn the page. Published with a story Feb. 5 as part of our Every Child series, the picture conjured up thoughts of starving children in faraway Third World countries.

Keep kids safe from common risks

May 26, 2012

Twenty-five children die every day in the United States from injuries from drowning, falls, fires or burns, poisoning, suffocation, and transportation-related injuries. Think about it, one entire classroom of children dies every day from injuries.

Shortcomings must be met

May 13, 2012

In a community that prides itself on being a “great place to raise kids,” we have plenty to crow about, and plenty to fix. The state of mental health care, especially for children, offers us both opportunities.

Abusers work to find victims

April 13, 2012

The truth of the matter is, many adults who prey on children for sexual gratification are smart. They know where they’ll be trusted. They know who will look the other way. They know the kids who won’t tell.

Knowledge helps curb child abuse

April 7, 2012

Nearly 10 years ago, Community Partnership was looked to for help in developing a coordinated mandated reporter training for Greene County.

Greene County juvenile officer's job a balancing act

March 24, 2012

Every juvenile who ends up under Morgan Galloway’s supervision has committed a sexual offense. As the sole Greene County juvenile probation officer for “sexually harmful youth,” she manages 30-35 open cases at any given time.

About 80 youth on confidential registry

March 24, 2012

State law requires Greene County to maintain a registry of juveniles who have committed the most serious sex offenses. But unlike the adult registry, it’s not accessible to the public.

Parents key to Informed Supervision initiative

March 24, 2012

Greene County wants to improve the way it works with “sexually harmful youth” by expanding its Informed Supervision initiative and providing more support for families.

A big embrace

March 18, 2012

Feb. 23 was a big day for Zoe. But while her new family celebrated her adoption, she was far more interested in animal crackers. At 2 years old, sugar is a lot more exciting than a courtroom and a guy in a robe.

Working to keep children in their homes by helping families

February 26, 2012

Maribeth Primm has been known to wash cockroaches out of her hair because of her job. She’s pulled up carpet that’s been matted to the ground with dog urine. Her work? Helping families keep their children from being removed by the state.

From drug user, dealer to mentor

February 25, 2012

The phone call comes from a Springfield principal. It shakes Lulu Washington. Jacquline is in trouble. Someone from the school will be bringing the 15-year-old home. Lulu waits at the front gate of her yard.

Children exposed to meth

February 25, 2012

Police went to a south Springfield house earlier this month to check on the welfare of an 80-year-old woman. What they say they found were two boys, ages 4 and 6, the elderly woman’s great-grandsons, living in a house filled with old food and trash.

Now is the time to confront abuse

February 18, 2012

Most of us have a hard enough time making a plan for the next year — so it’s difficult to imagine making a plan that might need to span two or three generations.

A lifetime of healing

February 6, 2012

Long after the scars have healed, broken bones have mended and the situation has been remedied, the long term effects of child abuse remain. “It really is a healing process over a lifetime,” says Lisa Ellsworth, who counsels adults at The Victim Center in Springfield.

Working hard toward child abuse prevention

February 5, 2012

It began as a very simple idea: Why don’t we prepare future parents for what we know they’ll face? Tantrums will come. Frustration with a baby’s constant crying is inevitable. Junior is not always going to be fun or cute.


February 5, 2012

Detective Fred Beck sits in the back of the mostly empty courtroom and watches as the man in the striped uniform is brought in. Beck thinks about the first time he saw the man, about a year before.

A duty to report child abuse, neglect

February 5, 2012

A recent examination by USA TODAY found few states prosecuting adults who are mandated to report evidence of child abuse but fail to do so. That seems to not be the case in the Ozarks.

Abuse prevention resources

February 5, 2012

The Victim Center education programs 819 N. Boonville Ave. Springfield, MO 65802 (417) 863-7273 http://www.thevictim Melinda Vacey leads age-appropriate educational programs for children and adults on child physical and sexual abuse.

How to help end child abuse

February 4, 2012

The Child Advocacy Center 1033 E. Walnut Springfield 65806 (417) 831-2327 Donations can be made to The Child Advocacy Center in Springfield online at

Know what to do in case of abuse

February 4, 2012

Q. What is abuse? A. “Abuse” is any physical injury, sexual abuse or emotional abuse inflicted on a child, other than by accidental means, by those responsible for the child’s care, custody and control,” EXCEPT:

The hidden, but all too prevalent, world of neglected kids

February 4, 2012

The first time Brooke Clarkson met the 4-year-old boy, he weighed 19.6 pounds. He couldn’t talk. Four years later, he still can’t — save for a few small words. “He said my name one time, and I completely lost it,” Clarkson said.

Children advocates speak out

February 4, 2012

norm Ridder Superintendent, Springfield Public Schools “I believe the answer to your question is that both — there is a high (incidence) of child abuse and Greene County experiences a high volume of abuse reports.” Denise Bredfeldt Executive Director, May

Should everyone be a mandated reporter?

February 4, 2012

A Missouri senator and the state’s attorney general have pushed for new legislation to make any adult who witnesses sexual abuse against a child a mandated reporter. Sen.

Children's play can show the way to heal

January 14, 2012

Child therapist Kelley Jones’ playroom at The Victim Center has the usual assortment of children’s toys … a feather boa … a kitchen playset.

Man warns teens about addiction

November 5, 2011

Springfield fifth-graders learned about meth in March in a program sponsored by the the Southeast Rotary Club of Springfield.