KCPD’s Social Services Supervisor Provides Resources To Fight Child Neglect, Abuse
Publish Date 04/25/2022
“The thing about kids is that they love their parents, even if the parent is being abusive or neglectful.”
Tamara McIntosh sees children stuck in that situation, pinned between their family devotion and dangerous living conditions, too often. For KCPD’s Social Services Supervisor, these scenarios are almost daily.
Yet, it’s the parent that makes a sacrifice for the betterment of the children that gives McIntosh hope.
“Parents who recognize they need help and are willing to step back and get themselves together, those stories are good,” McIntosh says. “They’ll get clean if they need to or take a parenting class, learn budget or life skills.”
McIntosh and her team work with police officers to connect families to resources. They might receive allegations of abuse and then check on the welfare of a family. If there’s no abuse or neglect, McIntosh might discover the mother, father, or both are struggling. Before the situation turns harmful for the children, McIntosh will ask what they need.
The result might be a connection to a food pantry or to a clothing closet, maybe a gift card to purchase necessities.
“Some of them know there are resources out there, but they still need a hand to push them forward because they don’t like asking for help,” McIntosh explains. “Some don’t know the help is out there.”
If McIntosh or team members discover abuse or neglect, they focus on preventing future harm from repeating. They’ll work with the Missouri Children’s Division and the family to make sure services are in place. Additionally, they help parents navigate the process of working with social workers and case managers, and of keeping appointments.
For the last four years, McIntosh has worked in KCPD’s Social Services program. Child abuse, she says, is getting worse in Kansas City. From her experience, a lack of coping skills compounds the problem.
“People don’t understand how to self-regulate,” McIntosh states. “You have to know how to control yourself and know you can’t control everybody.”
Help is available. That’s McIntosh’s message.
“Reach out if you don’t know,” she says. “You can call the police department and get referrals to services. The first thing is to help yourself.”
KCPD is working with Children’s Mercy Hospital in April to bring awareness to Child Abuse Prevention Month.