St. Louis’ Hilltop Child Development Center Becomes Hilltop Child and Family Development Center

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Innovative services now meet the needs of the entire family unit

"By helping these families journey through pregnancy, parenthood, and more, we improve their odds tremendously."

Hilltop Child Development Center, owned and operated by Lutheran Family and Children’s Services (LFCS) of Missouri, announces its evolution to Hilltop Child and Family Development Center. Expanded, integrated services will fill a gap in the North St. Louis community and include prenatal classes, parenting courses, and individual and family counseling. An expansion celebration, ribbon cutting, and open house will take place on Tuesday, October 30 from 9:30-11:00 am at the Hilltop location: 6155 W Florissant Ave, St. Louis, MO 63136.

“We can now prepare our students for future success by supporting the child’s development and also that of the whole family,” said Julie McAfee, Director, Hilltop Child and Family Development Center. “Hilltop serves the North St. Louis City and North St. Louis County areas – two communities often faced with extreme poverty, crime, and trauma. Easy access to holistic family interventions and support services is vital to their success. No other such services currently exist in this geographic area, and LFCS is proud to lead the way in meeting the needs of these children and their families.”

Sixty-five percent of the families enrolled at Hilltop in 2017 had annual incomes less than
$19,900. Less than 23% of Hilltop families make $30,000 annually. The Center is currently operating at 95% utilization for childcare services.

“We want to prepare as many kids as we can for success in school, but almost more importantly, we want those children to have happy, healthy, and successful lives well beyond their years at Hilltop. That all starts at home. By helping these families journey through pregnancy, parenthood, and more, we improve their odds tremendously,” said Mike Duggar, President & CEO of Lutheran Family and Children’s Services of Missouri.

To staff these new behavioral health and family wrap-around services, the Center has hired a Licensed Clinical Social Worker to provide individual and family counseling, home visitations, and prenatal and parenting courses.

Since 1968, Hilltop Child Development Center has provided children with a wide range of basic skills that prepare them for success in elementary school and in life. Ninety-eight percent of Hilltop graduates are well prepared for kindergarten. In 2016, Hilltop partnered with Youth in Need’s Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership and received a Head Start Expansion grant allowing the Center to serve infants and toddlers. As the success of Hilltop grew as a reduced (and sometimes no) cost, family-centered, full-day and full-year service provider, it became clear that more was needed to promote the development of these children: services to help the entire family unit. McAfee notes that the staff’s day-in and day-out interaction with Hilltop children and families was the impetus for this entire expansion.

The Center will continue to grow to serve the needs of the community. By 2021, the organization hopes to add two full-time social workers for family services and another full-time counselor to facilitate behavioral health and counseling services. In September 2018, Hilltop was selected by the Office of Mayor Lyda Krewson and Alderwoman Pam Boyd as the 2018 Neighborhood Business of the year for the 27th Ward in appreciation of doing business in the City of St. Louis.

Alderwoman Boyd will be in attendance at the ribbon cutting and open house; the event is open to the public. For more information, please contact Megan Nichols at MeganN(at)lfcs(dot)org.

About Hilltop Child and Family Development Center
Hilltop Child and Family Development Center is owned and operated by Lutheran Family and Children’s Services of Missouri. Both state licensed and NAEYC accredited, the Center provides quality and affordable child care services and school readiness to children ages 6 weeks to 12 years. Since 1968, Hilltop has provided children with a wide variety of basic skills that prepare them for success in elementary school and placed a strong value on developing good self-esteem, verbal and creative expressiveness, assertiveness, and a sense of personal responsibility that is age appropriate. Recent success has made possible an expansion to provide individual and family counseling and prenatal and parenting courses to the children and families who benefit from child care at Hilltop. The organization strives to be the recognized leader in contributing to the safety, stability, and well-being of children and families across Missouri.

About Lutheran Family and Children’s Services (LFCS)
LFCS, a proud member of the United Way, is a statewide agency with headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri, five regional offices, and numerous satellite counseling sites. LFCS serves families, children, and individuals from all walks of life in their greatest times of need. Services are open to anyone regardless of race, faith, national origin, gender, or age. As a nonprofit social services organization, its goal is to open doors for people who are challenged by poverty, unexpected pregnancy, violence, divorce, unemployment, illness, homelessness, and more. LFCS provides four key areas of support to tackle these challenges: Child Welfare, Mental Health Services, Child and Teen Development, and Disaster Services. The programs offered through each of these areas empower individuals and families and seek to develop healthy, supportive foundations for a lifetime. The staff delivers professionalism and personal care in equal measure to every situation and each client who visits one of the five offices around the state of Missouri. Everything LFCS does integrates with the community to enrich and heal the lives of people with the expectation that troubled individuals will find hope and realize that tomorrow can be different than today. For more information, call 314-754-2785 or visit lfcsmo.org.

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Jillian Hausmann

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