Since 1975, the Child Abuse Prevention Association (CAPA) has served Jackson County and the surrounding areas through counseling, home visiting services and community education work — all with child abuse prevention and parenting support at the core. To Rochelle Parker, President and CEO, their mission to keep kids safe takes all of us. “You don’t have to be a therapist or work for a nonprofit either. It simply comes down to advocating for care, being responsive, and helping walk children through the healing process.”
In the past year, referrals are up at CAPA — mostly from Raytown, Independence, and Fort Osage schools. The need outweighs their capacity, so additional funding from the Children’s Services Fund is coming at the right time. Another timely shift is in their data collection and assessment that’s empowering their entire organization to make a bigger impact.
Technology & Data to Drive Strategy & Improvements
Every year, measuring impact becomes more important — to the CSF, the community, other donors and partners. In 2022, CAPA made one of their most critical investments to not only measure impact more accurately, but track data responsibly and support quality in their administration and services. The Apricot database is robust. It’s built with privacy in mind, but can manage staff, and assess growing needs in various zip codes across their service area.
“It’s been a game changer for us!” Rochelle confirmed. “We can customize the way we capture information, collect more data, and create reporting structures that make sense for our agency, programs and constituents. So far, it’s helped us assess seasonal needs and reduce wait times for counseling. We can see how kids in specific areas respond to various types of therapy, look at outcomes and tweak our programs accordingly.”
Many agencies struggle to gather and extract data in meaningful ways, but now one year into Apricot, CAPA is starting to see how it will support their agency for years to come. They will be able to make improvements at a faster clip, drill down to a granular level, look at who they’re serving most and who may need different services or services more frequently. For donors, Apricot can help prepare reports with charts and graphs that tell a better story and communicate it in a clear, transparent way. And for their counselors, staff, and interns, the data empowers them to make smart decisions and stay engaged, giving CAPA a higher employee retention rate.
2 Key Programs for Counseling and Prevention Education
Counseling & Therapeutic Support for Trauma Healing
From safety and coping skills to family relationships and conflict resolution, CAPA therapists support children who’ve experienced child abuse, neglect, or family trauma. All Registered Play Therapists, they use the power of play to help kids organize and understand the world around them while feeling safe.
Kristina Jones, CAPA’s VP of Programs relayed, “It’s hard to grow teams without well qualified and capable clinical supervision staff. CSF funding supports these necessary positions.” To maintain a high standard of training and quality services that kids need, CAPA’s supervisors oversee credentials for counselors, lead clinical training for staff that helps them develop in multiple disciplines and address the impact of various types of trauma, and much more.
CAPA typically serves families for about two years — something unique to agencies in the Kansas City area. Their model isn’t limited by time, but rather driven by what success looks like for each individual child, family or caregiver. “We also recognize the barriers that can be attached to mental health diagnoses and do our best to eliminate as many as possible. We look at all the symptoms and determine the best approach for therapy.” said Kristina.
Internships for Graduate & Undergraduate Practicums
Over 20 years, CAPA has developed relationships with close to one dozen universities to provide practical learning experiences for students working towards graduate and undergraduate degrees in social work, counseling, or related disciplines. In fact, almost every mental health agency in the Kansas City area has an intern that was trained at CAPA. CAPA interns are able to learn in a fully integrated environment while providing services to families in need. CSF’s support helped CAPA double its clinical intern supervision capacity by supporting the addition of one intern supervisor.
Expansion to Eastern Jackson County
With the support of CSF and other funders, CAPA opened a second location in east Kansas City close to Independence and Raytown helping it to serve more children and families through its counseling and community-based prevention education programs.
School-based Prevention Programming
Through an evidence-based program from Second Step Child Protective Unit their body safety classes empower kids to understand unsafe, unwanted touches, know how to respond, who to talk to, and how to identify safe people and places. They also talk with school staff, teachers and guidance counselors about how to handle situations when children disclose incidents of abuse.
Free Parenting and Community Classes
CAPA is one of only agencies that provides free classes to those who may be involved in the family court system. In order to stay together, families are sometimes required to take a parenting class. Other community education includes mandated reporter training and teaching the signs of abuse and neglect in community groups.
Generous Community Support Makes
From CSF funding to volunteers who sit on their board and a well-connected community of agencies in Kansas City, CAPA is grateful for the support of the Jackson County community.
“They play a key role in our success, and we couldn’t do this work without them!” — Rochelle Parker, CAPA President & CEO
If you want to get involved, CAPA’s annual kids event and gala is held annually in early June. Enjoy field day games and a fundraiser at Lake Jacomo in Lee’s Summit.
To learn more about organizations and programs the CSF funds and what’s coming next for children’s mental health support in Jackson County,, subscribe to our monthly enews and follow us on social media!