Children’s Trust Fund
The Children’s Trust Fund concept originated with the late Ray E. Helfer, M.D., an internationally recognized pediatrician in the field of child abuse and prevention. Dr. Helfer saw trust funds used to care for our nation’s highways and wildlife, so why not have trust funds to care for our nation’s children? His idea has been the catalyst for the nationwide network of community-based programs that have been initiated by states with children’s trust and prevention funds. The first CTF was created in the state of Kansas in 1980.
Today, all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have passed legislation establishing a trust or prevention fund. Nationwide, states’ children’s trust and prevention funds receive revenue from various sources, such as surcharge fees on marriage licenses or other vital records, individual and corporate fundraising, and state and federal resources.
Children’s Trust Funds play a leadership role with other organizations in the community when seeking to prevent child abuse and neglect before it occurs. Children’s Trust Funds have demonstrated the capacity to serve as leaders of coalitions and collaborative efforts focused on prevention. Additional strengths include supporting and promoting innovative strategies to strengthen families and prevent abuse. Children’s Trust Funds are well respected in the professional community for their leadership and commitment to prevention.
The Mississippi Children’s Trust Fund was created by the Mississippi Legislature in 1989. The fund’s primary purpose is to encourage and provide financial assistance in the provision of direct services to prevent child abuse and neglect.
A 13-member Advisory Council provides direction and recommendations on behalf of the Mississippi Children’s Trust Fund. The Advisory Council must include directors of these four state agencies: Mississippi State Department of Health, Mississippi Department of Education, Mississippi Department of Mental Health, and Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services.
To fund the Mississippi Children’s Trust Fund, the Mississippi Legislature allows a one-dollar surcharge on every birth certificate and a $1,000 fine imposed by the court on each person committing certain crimes against a minor. The mission of the Advisory Council is to reduce child abuse and neglect by:
- Authorizing the disbursement of money from the Children’s Trust Fund
- Making recommendations to the Governor and the General Assembly for changes in state statutes, policies, and standards
- Improving coordination among state agencies that provide prevention services
- Expanding programs statewide that provide preventive services
The National Alliance of Children’s Trust and Prevention Funds initiates and engages in national efforts that assist state Children’s Trust and Prevention Funds in strengthening families to prevent child abuse and neglect. This effort includes promoting and supporting a system of services, laws, practices, and attitudes that support families by enabling them to provide their children with a safe, healthy, and nurturing childhood.
Advisory Council Members
Edward N. Kramer III
Dr. Tracy Mims
For additional information on Child Abuse Prevention programs, please contact MDCPS here.