SH Child Assessment Program Director talks about the importance of providing parental support


Cases of children being locked away or neglected have made headlines recently in the Kansas City area. One child advocate says people are beginning to notice this type of abuse more often.

Earlier this year, authorities discovered a teenager who had been chained to a pole in his basement in his Northland home. He was malnourished and had been out of school for months. In another case, a 10-year-old Kansas City girl had been barricaded inside a closet that reeked of urine. Now Independence police said a 9-year-old girl’s parents locked her in a basement and forced her to use the bathroom outside.

The cases are what child advocates like Virginia Lewis Brunk of Sunflower House would see.

“I think it’s really happening not necessarily more than we think. I think it’s being reported more than it was in the past,” Brunk said.

As director of child assessment, she said often times she sees parents who isolate their children because they believe they are out of options – and also because it may have been the way they were disciplined.

“Parents are reacting because of stress. They don’t know or don’t understand child development. If you can put some support that will assist with that, maybe they won’t be using such harsher choices,” Brunk said.

While Brunk always urges people to report possible abuse or neglect, she also said there’s more that the public can do before the situation turns into abuse. Brunk suggests reaching out to a struggling parent.

“Folks reach out when they see somebody in need. If you see a parent struggling, reach a hand out. Offer to bring them dinner, offer to babysit while they go to grocery store. Do things that will provide assistance,” she said.

Don’t be afraid to report possible abuse. You can do so anonymously if you suspect abuse. The hotline numbers are 1-800-922-5330 for Kansas and 1-800-392-3738 for Missouri.


WATCH VIDEO – KCTV5 Features Sunflower House Child Abuse Prevention Services


By Laura McCallister, Multimedia Producer – email
By Jeanene Kiesling, Reporter – bio | email

Learn how Sunflower House professionals are helping sexually and physically abused children and their families in our community. Contact Sunflower House to learn how you can help prevent child abuse and help victims of abuse heal.

Watch Video – National Children’s Alliance :30 Second PSA

National Children’s Alliance advocates on behalf of Children’s Advocacy Centers around the country, and around the world. Every day, thousands of children will enter a Children’s Advocacy Center to speak about the unimaginable – abuse they have experienced at the hands of adults. Children’s Advocacy Centers put the child first, helping to lessen the trauma many children experience even after the abuse has occurred. For more information and to support a Children’s Advocacy Center near you, visit www.nationalchildrensalliance.org.

Spring 2013 Sunflower Seeds Newsletter Published

Spring-2013-Newsletter-1Check out what’s been going on at Sunflower House and see what’s coming up. Watch for your copy of the Spring 2013 Sunflower Seeds Newsletter in your mailbox. Just in case you can’t wait to read it or if you’re not on our USPS mailing list, we’ve posted this link for your reading and sharing convenience.


We invite you join the Sunflower House USPS mailing list by contacting Brenda Horn, Sunflower House Resource Development Director at: brenda@sunflowerhouse.org or by calling: (913) 631-5800

How Sexting Can Turn Teens Into Registered Sex Offenders

Watch KCTV5 News Report – Learn About Sunflower House Electronic Safety Training

Watch Video

This was a great investigative report done by KCTV5 earlier this week about young people and sexting. Take some time to view it. It is a real eye opener. Sunflower House is having our next electronic safety training April 9th. This is a FREE TRAINING and is OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. Call us at 913.631.5800 if you are interested. We are also conducting regular trainings at middle schools to educate young people about sexting and other dangers of inappropriate electronics usage.

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