CoMo Community: Rainbow House

Rainbow House

The mission of Rainbow House  is to keep children safe and to support families in crisis through prevention, assessment, and intervention in child abuse and neglect

Rainbow House was founded in November, 1986, in an old farmhouse in Columbia, Missouri with room for up to twelve children. Kathy Hughes, founder, had been a foster parent for many years. She had the vision to provide a safe, home-like environment where sibling groups would be kept together and children would continue in their home school. Her compassion for children, sincere dedication, and ability to mobilize the community resulted in the founding of the only emergency children’s shelter in Mid-Missouri.The agency has historically provided placement for children age birth to eighteen years.

In 1992, services were expanded to include crisis care. This program provides for children whose parents are in crisis and need a safe place to house their children while they attempt to stabilize their own lives. Crisis Care is truly a prevention program in that it provides a respite placement that can be accessed by a parent without involvement of any other agencies. Parents may face a major crisis including homelessness, unemployment, temporary mental instability, or other issues that can cause major stress in one’s life. Crisis Care can relieve the parent of the added stress of parenting at the same time they are trying to solve their crisis. It is our belief that children are protected from abuse because parents choose to utilize this Rainbow House service.

Many years later, ICAN (Inter-Agency Council on Child Abuse and Neglect) and the Rainbow House Board of Directors recognized the need for a child advocacy center. In August of 1998, the Rainbow House Regional Child Advocacy Center (CAC) began conducting forensic (fact finding) interviews of children alleged to have been sexually or severely physically abuse., remaining true to the Rainbow House mission of keeping children safe and supporting families in crisis. The CAC offers a child-friendly environment where abused and neglected children may feel comfortable telling their story of abuse. Utilizing a multi-disciplinary team approach, the CAC works with the investigative personnel from law enforcement, children’s division, juvenile office and prosecuting attorney’s offices to coordinate the best and most effective response to allegations of sexual and severe physical abuse of a child. Every effort is made to interview a child only one time.

Rainbow House has progressively provided services to greater numbers of children over the years. In the past year, more than 750 children received services in the Rainbow House programs.

Rainbow House is staffed by trained, qualified individuals, experienced in working with children in crisis situations. Staff and volunteers undergo background checks and training to provide the highest level of care.

Rainbow House is not a chapter of any other national or international organization. It is a local non-profit corporation that serves Boone and other central Missouri counties. Rainbow House is supported by the Heart of Missouri United Way, Audrain United Way, Missouri Foundation for Health, National Children’s Alliance , VOCA, the City of Columbia , Boone County , Children’s Trust Fund and the Central Missouri Food Bank.

We Bet You Already Knew: Rainbow House serves abused and neglected children.

But Did You Know?:

Rainbow House has three Programs!

~ The Rainbow House Children’s Emergency Shelter temporarily houses children who are in foster care; and assists community parents who request placement for their children during a family crisis.

~ The Rainbow House Regional Child Advocacy Center (CAC) provides forensic interviews, advocacy and therapy for children whose lives have been negatively impacted by sexual and/or severe physical abuse. The CAC is a vital part of the investigative team.

~ The Rainbow House Homeless Youth Program provides housing and services for homeless youth who are interested in making a meaningful and productive transition into adulthood, and who have little family support or knowledge of resources available to them in the community. These youth need a helping hand, and Rainbow House provides that in a variety of ways.

We also provide Therapy Services, Support Groups, Parenting Classes and Community Education.

Some Terrifying Statistics That Illustrate The Importance of Rainbow House:

~ 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys have been abused.

~ At least 80% of the time, children know the offenders, most often a trusted parent or caretaker and approximately half of those cases the trusted adult is a father or stepfather.

~ Sexual abuse of children occurs to children of all ages, in every class, race, religion, culture and ethnic group.

~ 75% of battered women say their children are also battered..

~ An estimated 9 out of 10 cases of child sexual abuse are never reported.

Want To Volunteer?

Yes, we use volunteers – they make up a big part of our organization! They may choose to volunteer at events, help in chairing a committee, or serve on our Board of Directors.

We have several individuals that donate their time consistently (2-3 times a week), individuals that come in now and then to complete a specific project/task, and we have groups of people that will work on a project/task as well. The work these people do varies. We have volunteers that spend time with the kids in the Children’s Emergency Shelter and/or the teens at the Teen Emergency Shelter and Sol House. These volunteers may help staff complete daily tasks (cooking, cleaning, feeding, etc.), tell stories to the kids, facilitate a craft project, teach life skills, etc. We also have volunteers that are willing to help with the office work (answering phones, watching the door, organizing, etc.). We also have organizations willing to donate their time/services as well (for example – we have a taxi service that is willing to take families to and from the shelter free of charge if they have no other means of transportation). We typically have up to four interns per semester from one of the local colleges or universities, many times from the schools of social work or psychology.

YOU Can Make A Difference – Through Rainbow House Or By Directly Dealing With Child Abuse – Here Is How…

Your ability to help is essential in carrying out Rainbow House’s mission. There are many ways that you can help and through your donation of time, financial contributions and reporting child abuse you are able to make a difference in the life of a child.

Volunteer: You may choose to volunteer at events, help in chairing a committee, serve on our Board of Directors, volunteer your time to answer phones, help in our donation room, spend time/organize activities with our children/youth, or in a variety of other ways too numerous to list.

Donate: What Rainbow House’s volunteers and donors have in common is their love and concern for children. You’ve followed your heart, and realize that Rainbow House is a place that’s imperative to letting children live their best lives. Rainbow House always has a need for food, monetary donations, gift cards, cleaning and toiletry items, new toys, and new or gently used clothing. You may be a sponsor for one of Rainbow House’s annual events, be a part of our Monthly Giving Program, make a contribution of $100.00 or more during the year and benefit from 50% Missouri State Tax Credits .

Report Child Abuse: To report suspected child sexual abuse, call the following number: Missouri Child Abuse Hotline: 1.800.392.3738
You can reach this toll free number 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Do not hesitate to make the call, even if you are not a “mandated report”, and even if you don’t know for sure but strongly suspect a child may be the victim of abuse.

HAVE COMPLETE INFORMATION. The Missouri Children’s Division needs specific information to be able to respond to a complaint of abuse or neglect. Be sure you have:

the name of the child
the name of the parent(s)
the name of the alleged abuser
where the child can be located

The information about Rainbow House was provided by: April Barnett, Marketing Director who says, ” Your involvement is greatly appreciated by the staff and children at Rainbow House. Thank you for your support of Rainbow House!”


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