Children’s Center of SWMO Board Announce the Hiring of New Executive Director

(Joplin, MO) The Children’s Center of Southwest Missouri’s Board of Directors announced Matthew Stewart as the new executive director on April 1, 2021. Matt will replace the current director, Vickie Dudley, on May 3, 2021. 

Stewart was most recently the Victim Advocate for the Newton County Prosecutor’s Office and Chief of Police for the Joplin Police Department. Matt has more than 20 years of experience in local government and law enforcement throughout his career. He is also proficient in budget management, community involvement, and strategic planning. He has served on local and state committees which focus on sexual and physical child abuse programs.

Matt is a resident of Seneca, Missouri and a graduate of Missouri Southern State University’s criminal justice administration program. He also earned a Master of Science in Criminal Justice from Southeast Missouri State University.

“Board members and staff have worked alongside Matt for several years as he served on our Executive Board in June of 2017. He carries a strong connection to the Children’s Center’s mission to serve vulnerable children. His experience in law enforcement will strengthen our operational effectiveness,” said Kevin Huffmaster, Board President. “His career commitment to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves coupled with his leadership and management expertise make him an excellent choice for this position.”

Vickie Dudley, current Executive Director, has created meaningful change and growth during her tenure at the Children’s Center. Since July of 2014, her strategic mindset has accomplished noteworthy achievements that will leave a lasting mark on the Children’s Center.

“We are thankful for the years of commitment Vickie has devoted to the Center, and we will continue to build on her investment through every child abuse victim we serve,” says Huffmaster.

Vickie has been wonderful to work with. She was successful in adding counseling as an additional service to the center, with the service model used by the Child Abuse and Neglect Committee and duplicated across the state of Missouri.

About Children’s Center: 

Children’s Center of Southwest Missouri, a not-for-profit organization that has provided victim assistance services for children since 1997. Children’s Center operates nationally accredited advocacy centers in Butler, Nevada, Monett, and Joplin, MO. They serve sexually abused, neglected, or physically abused children. They also provide services to children that have witnessed violent crimes. The centers are available for children ages

birth through 17 and their families. As a child advocacy center (CAC), Children’s Center provides benefits free of charge to child abuse victims, families, and our community.


Kevin Huffmaster, Board President
Children’s Center of Southwest Missouri

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