New grant programs in Missouri will be utilized to fight crimes against children and provide more funding to agencies that provide services to crime victims. Officials say the last two years have created hardships and strained resources across the country , but the reported rise in crimes affecting children and the difficulties experienced by agencies that provide vital services to crime victims is most concerning. They also say these new grant programs will allow them to better investigate and prosecute criminals who victimize children and support domestic violence service agencies and child advocacy centers that serve the state’s most vulnerable citizens and help bring criminals to justice. Out of $4 million, half will be grant opportunities made available to assist local law enforcement and prosecutors fight crimes against children, which officials say rose in 2020 and 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, $2 million in grant opportunities is being made available to assist crime victim service agencies. The governor’s office reported there were increases in service referrals during the COVID-19 pandemic. The two grants will use funds previously allocated to Missouri from the federal Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding Program. There is no local match required to receive the funding. The grants will be administered by the Missouri Department of Public Safety. The funding opportunity for the Crimes Against Children/Sex Crimes grant is expected to open on August 1Projects may include hiring additional staff to investigate, prosecute and detect crimes against children.