The last children living on south Kansas City’s Spofford campus will move out in the coming weeks, ending the location’s 100 years as a home for children suffering from neglect, abuse or behavioral difficulties.
Spofford’s role is changing, said Cornerstones of Care CEO Denise Cross, as the agency puts more focus on home-based, community care — and deals with cuts in state funding.
“We’re seeing greater ability to help children and families stay together at home,” Cross said. “This is the next step in our journey.”
Children who still require residential care in Kansas City can be taken in at Cornerstone’s Gillis campus in Waldo and Ozanam campus in Martin City, she said.
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But Spofford’s campus, at 9700 Grandview Road, will be devoted to training and supporting families, foster parents and other people to help children in their homes and neighborhoods.
“The trend is that more younger children can be served in the community,” Cross said. “If we can provide support to a family, that is the best option.”
Spofford, Gillis and Ozanam, which had been independent programs for children in distress, came together in the mid-1990s under an umbrella organization that would become Cornerstones of Care. The network has since added the Marillac campus in Overland Park. Its programs in Missouri and Kansas serve 10,000 children and their families, Cross said.
Cornerstones is dealing with a $260,000 reduction in Missouri state funding that is also weighing on some of the changes.
“We’re trying to manage it without impacting families and children,” Cross said. Everyone whose position was lost was offered another job within the organization, she said.
The Spofford Receiving Home for Children originally opened as an orphanage in the donated Victorian mansion from Bebe Spofford at 25th Street and Paseo in Kansas City in 1916.
In the 1930s, it moved to 55th Street and Cleveland Avenue and began providing therapeutic services. It moved to its current location on Grandview Road in the 1970s as a shelter for children with behavioral disorders and children endangered by abuse or neglect.