Several Missouri childcare providers are emerging as valuable tools in preventing child neglect and child abuse. The state Department of Social Services is working with the facilities as part of the National Strengthening Families Initiative. Deputy director Doris Halford with the Children’s division says the nationwide initiative includes seven Missouri pilot sites that are exploring how childcare providers can impact families and even help prevent abuse. Halford says the initiative is now beginning its second stage where childcare providers are implementing five strategies identified for helping parents recognize the range of resources childcare facilities can offer. The program is meant to give providers the skills to recognize stress in the home and intervene before the situation could degenerate into child neglect or abuse. Missouri is one of just seven states chosen to participate in the nationwide initiative.