The Children and Family Center of Northwest Missouri, located at 1220 East Second, Maryville, will now officially be known as North Star Advocacy Center.

The name change has been a work in progress for many months and staff members are extremely excited to be sharing the news.

“The original idea for changing the name from Children and Family Center came about because it seemed misleading as to what services are truly provided at the shelter,” said Linda Mattson, executive director.

As a domestic violence and sexual assault center for all victims, North Star wanted anyone to feel welcome as men, women and people of all ages are served.

“We felt we were losing clients as they didn’t understand what we really do at the center,” said Mattson. “Victims may have felt our services didn’t apply to them if they weren’t in a family or didn’t have children. Additionally, we would get phone calls constantly from people thinking we were Children’s Division or a daycare service. Our goal is that this name change will result in more victims reaching out for our assistance.”

When brainstorming for name ideas, the shelter leadership asked for input and ideas from all staff, volunteers, clients and the public, both in person and on social media. A staff member actually came up with North Star Advocacy Center name proposal and the center’s board voted for it among many other name suggestions.

The significance of the new name represents the fact that the North Star is always there, always reliable and can be found by anyone. It leads each individual along his or her own path. Additionally, the center is located in the northern part of the state.

North Star serves victims in Atchison, Gentry, Holt, Nodaway and Worth counties. All services are free and confidential.