Report Child Abuse and Neglect: 800-392-3738
The Passing of the Torch

After a nationwide search, we are proud to announce that David Chayer will be the new Executive Director for Missouri KidsFirst.  David has over 21 years of nonprofit leadership and management experience. He previously served the American Red Cross for over 14 years in multiple senior leadership positions across the country, including El Paso, Texas, Dallas, Texas, Tallahassee, FL, Washington, D.C, and Corpus Christi, TX.  David began his Red Cross career as the State Director of Government and External Relations in Illinois.

In addition to his experience with the Red Cross, he also served as the Executive Director for The ALS Association Texas Chapter where he led statewide efforts to help ALS families and their caregivers in their battle against Lou Gehrig’s disease, increase awareness of ALS, raising money for programs and critical research, strengthening federal and state advocacy efforts, and overseeing the ALS’ signature Walk to Defeat ALS events throughout Texas.  Recently, he served as the Executive Director for the Center Against Sexual and Family Violence in El Paso, Texas. 

Before joining the nonprofit world, David worked for six years in state and local government in Illinois, including positions with the City of Carbondale, Office of the Lt. Governor, and the Illinois General Assembly. In 2000, David was elected to the Divernon Village Board in his first-ever campaign for public office. He has also served as an Adjunct Instructor at Blackburn College where he taught State and Local Government. Chayer also served as a volunteer firefighter, and, for five years, served as the Head Cross Country Coach at Auburn Junior and Senior High School in Illinois.

Originally from St. Anne, Illinois, David holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Blackburn College and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.He and his wife Zyanya and daughter Zyanya Dorothy live in Columbia, MO. 
#Essential4Kids Campaign Receives National Recognition
In times of crisis and economic insecurity, rates of child abuse and neglect rise. COVID -19 has highlighted the increased risk of child abuse and neglect resulting from isolation. Across the state, as schools shifted to virtual learning, calls to Missouri’s child abuse hotline began to decline. On April 1, Missouri KidsFirst launched the #Essential4Kids campaign to increase awareness about the need for all adults to report child abuse and how to recognize abuse during a time of social distancing caused by the pandemic. #Essential4Kids proved to be a highly successful and important campaign, and we are proud to share that this campaign has reached over 250,000 adults, received national media attention and been adopted in over 20 other states. Through support from the Children’s Justice Act, Missouri KidsFirst was able to continue the campaign and create even more resources including a website full of educational materials including videos and flyers.

Public Policy
Missouri KidsFirst successfully advocates at the state and federal levels for policies and funding that prioritize the safety and well-being of children. Even with a shortened 2020 legislative session, we achieved full funding for our budget priorities and successfully pushed a child protection omnibus over the finish line. House Bill 1414 includes liability protections for child advocacy centers, creates temporary alternative placement agreements and requires a risk assessment within 72 hours of a report of child abuse or neglect. We are thrilled to complete year two of the Missouri Foundation for Health's Exemplary Advocate Cohort.
We are gearing up for the 2021 legislative session which kicks off January 4. Stay tuned!
The SAFE-CARE Network
  • SAFE-CARE Training for Medical Providers was held March 4-5, with 24 attendees and 7 new providers added to the Network. We now have 59 medical professionals trained to medically evaluate children for abuse and neglect.
  • SAFE-CARE Child Maltreatment Series hosted 13 learning opportunities.
  • Five Medical-Forensic trainings for child abuse and neglect professionals were offered with record attendance ranging from 104-221.
  • SAFE-CARE Annual Update training was held virtually, attracting 50 attendees to the event held over the course of four days.

  • SAFE-CARE Child Maltreatment ECHO Series will resume Feb 3, with 18 learning events.
  • SAFE-CARE Training for Medical Providers will be held virtually Tuesday, March 9 - Wednesday, March 10.
  • 2 Medical-Forensic Trainings have been scheduled: January 11: Normal Development and Common Behavioral Issues, for ages birth to Four years and February 8: Normal Development and Common Behavioral Issues, for Adolescents. Three to four more events are in development and will include the offering of POST and CLE for the events with 210 Medical-Forensic training credit.

Missouri Network of Child Advocacy Centers Training & Education Goes VIRTUAL!

  • Through State Services to Victims Funds, Missouri KidsFirst offered training to Child and Family Advocates working in child advocacy centers. 2020 Advocate training included a virtual, four part summer series; a virtual one-day fall training; a three-day initial training, and an afternoon with our partners at DPS to cover victim services for crime victim compensation, SAFE, and CPAFE exam funding.
  • Funded by the Criminal Justice Act, the Network of Child Advocacy Center offered a virtual ChildFirst National course, with two supplemental trainings.
  • National Children Alliance funding allowed Missouri KidsFirst to offer two state-wide peer review forensic interview events and one advanced training.

  • Advocates: plans are underway for a virtual one day spring training and an in-person two day fall training. Additionally, initial training for advocates working with a CAC will be offered in the fall.
  • Forensic Interviewers: New to 2021, the spring state-wide peer review will be offered on two consecutive days to allow CACs to send half their team one day and the other half the second day while retaining coverage at the CAC. Fall peer review will be held in conjunction with a day of advanced training for forensic interviewers.
  • MDT Members: a virtual ChildFirst National course will be offered this spring with a complimentary state-specific course on the topics of medical services, prosecution and collaboration and additional practice for those who will be conducting interviews to participate in mock practice with Missouri ChildFirst faculty.
  • We look forward to bringing several new training events to Missouri in 2021: Leading Engaged Teams for MDT Coordinators, Motivational Interviewing, and Resiliency training. We continue to seek additional ways to support the local MDTs to address incidents of child maltreatment in their communities through the work of the CAC network and the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse Task Force's MDT Best Practices workgroup.
All things considered, especially COVID, Missouri KidsFirst has had a successful 2020. With determination, and all the grace we could muster, we adapted our annual Standing with Children awards luncheon, our child advocacy center leadership meetings & retreat, and our many direct service trainings & meetings to a virtual format. When the pandemic subsides, we’ll probably never want to see another Zoom, but we’re proud of our network’s endless capacity to adapt to new challenges and landscapes. Missouri KidsFirst will continue virtual engagement through June 2021, at minimum, which means that our 2021 Standing with Children event at the end of Child Abuse Prevention month in April will again be virtual. Please save April 26, 2021 on your calendars to join us for Standing with Children, and be on the lookout for more information about this event in the next couple of months! 
As a membership organization in service of Missouri child advocacy centers (CACs), our goal for 2021 is to continue to strengthen our support for CACs and the critical role that they play in coordinating child abuse investigations, mitigating potential trauma from the investigation itself, and offering children and families supportive services that promote healing from abuse. As we ring in the new year, let’s all toast child advocacy centers, and their multidisciplinary partners, who do the hard work of protecting children from abuse, every day. And remember that you, too, can help protect children from abuse!  Our preferred child sexual abuse prevention training, Stewards of Children, and Missouri KidsFirst’s FREE online mandated reporter training, both provide information on the best ways to get involved when you suspect child abuse. Our Missouri network of Stewards of Children facilitators are able to meet requests for training at low- to no-cost with support from the Missouri Children’s Trust Fund. See for more information on accessing the online mandated reporter training, and scheduling a Stewards of Children training in your community. 

We wish you a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year!

Missouri KidsFirst is not a 24-hour service provider and does not provide crisis services.
For immediate help, please call Missouri’s Statewide Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline: 1-800-392-3738

Contact Us
520 Dix Road, Suite C, Jefferson City, MO 65109
Phone: 573-632-4600