Ideally, Rochelle Parker acknowledges, her organization's services would not even be needed.
As it is, though, the executive director of Child Abuse Prevention Association knows service is important, so the opportunity to expand and help more people is welcome.
CAPA, which has served Independence and surrounding Eastern Jackson County since 1975 and has headquarters on 23rd Street in Independence, will soon open a second location in the Blue Ridge Tower on Blue Ridge Boulevard.
By next month, the non-profit organization will occupy half of the fifth floor of the building near Interstate 70 and U.S. 40 that houses Silverstein Eye Centers – about 4,000 square feet, Parker said.
Its main building on 23rd covers about 6,000 square feet over two floors, plus a small playground and garden behind the structure.
“We've been crammed for space since I've been here,” said Parker, who has been executive director five years ago and has worked to more than triple the nonprofit's budget to about $1.9 million this year.
Through years of planning, CAPA not only spruced up its current location but also saved for $100,000 in equipment costs plus about $200,000 for 3.5 full-time positions for the Blue Ridge location.
CAPA rented some space in Kansas City's Westport neighborhood last year, Parker said, but its main focus in preventing and treating all forms of child abuse and neglect has been Independence and the nearest surrounding area. The additional Blue Ridge Tower space allows it to enhance service to that area and also reach some into Kansas City.
“We've had a great relationship with Independence and Fort Osage families, and we're starting with Raytown,” Parker said. “We wanted to make sure we're not making another barrier to existing families that we serve. Here, we can inch in (to Kansas City) and be closer to others, and that's a huge bus hub. That’s a big reason we chose this spot.”
On average CAPA works with about 1,000 families per year, and with the new location she anticipates being able to serve another 500. In addition to paid staff, CAPA also has several interns working toward their masters degrees.
“As much as we like being part of the solution, we'd rather not be in business,” Parker said. “We see children and families as long as we need to. A lot of times mental illness and drug abuse is part of (the issue).
“We try to equip them before it gets to them. Prevention is hard to prove, but we haven't had a case of abuse after a family went through a program. It's about breaking a cycle.”