Missouri KidsFirst announces recipients of 2021 “Standing with Children” awards

Missouri KidsFirst Website

Missouri KidsFirst presented the 2021 Standing with Children Awards at a virtual event hosted by the organization at 12:00 PM on Monday, April 26, 2021.

The 2021 recipients of the Standing with Children Awards are Laura Bauer and Judy Thomas, investigative reporters with the Kansas City Star, Dr. Linda Shaw, child abuse pediatrician with SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital, and Missouri Baptist Children’s Home. Additionally, Missouri KidsFirst recognizes the collective efforts of Missouri’s fifteen regional Child Advocacy Centers for their resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Laura Bauer and Judy L. Thomas are investigative journalists with the Kansas City Star. Missouri KidsFirst is recognizing them for their longtime commitment to raising awareness of issues of child abuse and neglect in our state through their reporting. In 2020-21, their thorough coverage of the lack of oversight of Missouri’s unlicensed residential youth facilities led to a statewide criminal investigation and the introduction of the most comprehensive legislation to address abuse in these facilities in the state’s history.
  • Dr. Linda Shaw MSSW, MD is a Child Abuse Pediatric Specialist with SSM Cardinal Glennon Hospital and SAFE-CARE provider. Dr. Shaw is recognized for her tireless work on behalf of Missouri’s children through her multifaceted efforts as a clinician, leader, community educator, prevention proponent, and policy advocate.
  • Missouri Baptist Children’s Home is recognized for raising awareness and empowering over 2,500 adults to prevent, recognize, and respond to child sexual abuse through Darkness to Light’s Stewards of Children training.

Missouri KidsFirst is recognizing all of Missouri’s Child Advocacy Centers in 2021 for their resilience amid the COVID-19 pandemic, quickly adapting their facilities, staffing, and services to continue to meet the needs of children and families in their communities. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, child advocacy centers continued to serve their mission to provide children and families with services that promote criminal justice and healing from abusive and traumatic events.

The first Standing with Children Awards were made in 2014 to former state Rep. Marsha Haefner, former state Rep. Sue Allen, and U.S. Senator Blunt. Over the years, awards have been made to legislators and child advocates who made important contributions to child protection in Missouri. Recipients are individuals who have advanced the child advocacy center movement in Missouri, promoted the use of multidisciplinary teams in child abuse investigations, and championed legislation that creates safer communities for children by supporting Children’s Division and traditional MDT partners and funding for CACs, the SAFE-CARE program and other agencies and services that are critical to advancing child protection in Missouri.

Founded in 2002, Missouri KidsFirst is the state chapter of Missouri’s fifteen accredited regional Child Advocacy Centers and the seat of Prevent Child Abuse Missouri. Missouri KidsFirst works to empower adultsincluding policymakers, children’s advocacy centers, law enforcement, Children’s Division employees, prosecutors, and medical providersto protect children from abuse by providing leadership, training, technical assistance, and legislative and public policy advocacy across the state.