St. Louis Child Abuse
& Neglect Network




Our Leadership



The St. Louis Child Abuse & Neglect Network (STLCANN) is an initiative of VCR focused on improving the lives of children and families who have been impacted by abuse or neglect and working to strengthen families to prevent child abuse and neglect. 

Beginning in 2019, STLCANN leadership became a core part of the Parents and Children Together (PACT-STL) Collaborative, along with PACT-STL grantee partners and families. PACT-STL is a 5-year federal initiative through the Children’s Bureau. The purpose of PACT-STL is to develop, implement and evaluate strategies to prevent child maltreatment, reduce entry into the public child welfare system, and enhance the overall well-being outcomes of children and families in our region. Leadership in the Collaborative expands opportunities for preventing child abuse and neglect in the St. Louis region by strengthening families as well as improving policy and practice in child welfare.


  • Provide educational and networking opportunities for professionals and community organizations to improve the lives of children and families who are at risk of, or who have been impacted by abuse or neglect;
  • Promote awareness of public, private, and community organizations that provide resources to families at risk of abuse/neglect; and
  • Affirm and celebrate individuals who go the extra mile for children who have been abused or neglected.

Stepping Up for Kids

The annual Stepping Up for Kids Awards Luncheon celebrates the amazing stories of resource families and front-line agency staff who give outstanding service to children in foster and adoptive care. Awardees are nominated by their peers and have gone the extra mile to ensure safe and supportive homes for children who have experienced abuse and neglect, many of whom today continue to face behavioral and physical health issues.

Stay tuned for information regarding the 2023 event. In the meantime, be sure to click below to see the honorees from past events.

Training Workshops

STLCANN hosts quarterly training workshops focused on improving your professional skills in working with children and families. Most trainings also offer an opportunity to earn Continuing Education credits. Stay up to date on trainings by signing up for STLCANN news here.

Next Training:  January 2023, Details TBD

Contact Yolanda West to learn more:  

Child Abuse Prevention Month

Child abuse and neglect is a tragedy that should not occur. Preventing child abuse is the responsibility of the entire community. Each year, some 15,000 incidents of abuse and neglect involving over 20,000 children are reported in the four Missouri counties of the St. Louis region. Nearly 1,000 of these incidents are substantiated as abused and another 8,000 are considered at risk and designated for further family support.

The STLCANN teams up with organizations and individuals across the metro area to raise awareness about child abuse/neglect, and to promote efforts to strengthen families — the best way to prevent abuse/neglect. Child Abuse Prevention Month has been held annually nationwide since 1982.

Our Leadership Board

  • Tanya Gasper: Children’s Division
  • Shante Lampley: St. Louis City Juvenile Court
  • Brenda Maly: Children’s Permanency Partnership
  • Phyllis Miller: YWCA Metro St. Louis
  • Nahid Nader-Hashemi: Webster University
  • Trina Orlet: Bi-Lingual International Assistance Services’, Parent
  • Craig Schmid: City of St. Louis Health Department
  • Linda Shaw: SSM Cardinal Glennon Hospital
  • Dan Underwood: Legal Services of Eastern Missouri
  • Bonnie Washeck: Community Volunteer
  • Colleen Polak: HOME WORKS!
  • Kate Beermann: BJC
  • Mary Mogg: Missouri Alliance for Children and Families
  • Jason Myers: Missouri Alliance for Children and Families
  • Katina Johnson: Parent
  • Yolanda West: VCR – PACT-STL Director
  • Sanaria Sulaiman: VCR – Executive Director


The St. Louis Child Abuse & Neglect Network (STLCANN) was established in June 2017 as a result of the merger of the St. Louis Family & Community Partnership and the St. Louis Area Council on Child Abuse & Neglect (COCAN). Both organizations shared a commitment to quality treatment for children and families who are affected by abuse/neglect and to strengthening families to prevent abuse/neglect. The two organizations partnered on projects and events and merged to grow stronger together!

The St. Louis Area Council on Child Abuse and Neglect was established as a collaborative council in 1975 to meet the need for professional networking, education, and advocacy on behalf of children in St. Louis regarding child abuse and neglect.

The St. Louis Family & Community Partnership was formed in 2005 with the merger of the St. Louis Neighborhood Network and the Family to Family initiative. The St. Louis Neighborhood Network, started in 1995 with funding from the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, focused on the use of family support teams in child welfare practice, culture change in child protection services, and more grassroots efforts to build support for families. The Family to Family initiative began in 2003 and focused on reform of the child protection system including reducing the number of children in residential care and building community partnerships.

Vision for Children at Risk began staffing and facilitating the St. Louis Family & Community Partnership in 2005 with the help of grants from the Missouri Children’s Trust Fund and the U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services, Office of Community Services.

View Other Focus Areas


Upcoming Events

Parent Café​

Connect with other parents and caregivers to strengthen your family.

Parent Café​

Connect with other parents and caregivers to strengthen your family.

Project LAUNCH Vitality Café​

Parents charting their own paths toward holistic wellness. 

Children’s Data

Children of Metropolitan St. Louis

A Data Book for the Community

Vision for Children at Risk informs the community with data and information on child well-being in the St. Louis area, builds and drives collaboration and strategic action for children, and advocates for policies and investment in children that support child well-being.