COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
The Rainbow House, a local 24-hour children's shelter and advocacy center, has struggled for months with not enough staff to serve the children it helps.
Rainbow House is a safe place for at-risk youth in the Mid-Missouri area.
Melissa Faurot, executive director at Rainbow House, said without the current staff, they are unable to help all children in need.
"Historically we've always battled with staff issues in the emergency shelter but it did get significantly worse since the pandemic," Faurot said.
The facility must have two staff in the building at all times and currently has around 15 staff on board, four of which they hired throughout this month. But Faurot says they need around 25-30 people.
"We have the child advocacy center where children come for forensic interviews, we have the children's emergency shelter where we house children transitioning through the foster care system or whose parents are in crisis," Faurot.
Rainbow House helps children from birth to 17-years-old and serves 11 Mid-Missouri counties. At last check, the child advocacy center conducted more than 400 interviews in a year, and the emergency shelter can serve 18 children at a time.
Faurot says the extensive but necessary hiring process makes hiring new staff harder.
"The hiring process can take quite some time and often what we see is while we are trying to get things finished people find other positions, so it can be an obstacle for us but it's necessary to ensure the safety and security of the kiddos," Faurot said.
The staffing shortage put a lot of demand on the current staff, many had to work overtime.
"Anytime we have to turn children away because we can't provide enough staff to keep the doors open, that's one less child that we are keeping safe," Faurot said.
Rainbow house is looking to hire full-time and part-time positions. It's hiring for youth specialists and the shelter director position. Prior experience is preferred but not necessary.