ST. LOUIS — Four of the trauma centers in St. Louis are joining forces to help fight violence in the area.
This new initiative is an expansion of the Victims of Violence program through Children’s Hospital. According to Dr. Bo Kennedy, an Emergency Pediatrician at Children’s Hospital, roughly 72 children a year come through with gunshot wounds.
This program looks at why these crimes are happening and how to address the problems so these children don’t come back as patients again.
Dr. Kennedy said many of the children that are treated for violent related injuries often come back again.
“We've seen the number of children brought in for personal violence, whether that's an assault, stabbing or a gunshot, probably increase throughout the last six or seven years,” said Margie Batek, the supervisor of Social Work and the person who spearheads the program.
The program pairs victims with a social worker. That person will visit the child and adults in the hospitals.
Those visits will continue almost weekly for six months to a year after they are released from the hospital. During those meetings, the victims will set goals either in school, job, training and work on improving relationships with those around them.
"What we're trying to do is see if we can direct these kinds to opportunities a much better outcome, a different alternative to their life,” said Dr. Kennedy.
The children who go through the problem typically succeed.
Right now there are 86 children in the program. It’s geared towards kids 8-19 years of age but there is someone as young as 6 in the program.
The program is paid for through a $1.6 million grant through the Missouri Foundation for Health.