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ARCHS Hosts Federal Forum


On August 14, a regional forum hosted by ARCHS and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) drew more than 150 area human service professionals and funders.

The goal of the Thriving Communities for a Better St. Louis Forum was to assist regional leaders and influencers in developing and implementing action plans to ensure vulnerable individuals and families overcome barriers to social and economic well-being and mobility.

Keynote speakers included Clarence Carter, Director of the HSS Office of Family Assistance/Administration for Children and Families, and Jennifer Tidball, Acting Director of the Missouri Department of Social Services.

The forum focused on key topics that related to generational poverty: justice involved individuals, connections to employment, and mental health. Breakout sessions allowed participants to offer detailed ideas on ways to address these barriers and issues.In August, a regional forum hosted by ARCHS and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) drew more than 150 area human service professionals and funders.

ARCHS Funds Summer Programs

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ARCHS has issued a $26,700 grant to Provident, Inc., a $30,000 grant to Unleashing Potential, and a $50,000 grant to Boys and Girls Clubs St. Louis to support summer enrichment programs at three locations.

The Missouri Department of Social Service funds will enable more than 150 low-income grade school-age students to participate in summer activities at St. Frances Cabrini Academy, Centennial Christian Church, and Adams Park Community Center.

The weekday programs conducted by Boys and Girls Clubs of St. Louis, Provident, Inc. and Unleashing Potential will focus on academic support/enrichment, social and life skills, health and recreation, character development, and parent and family involvement. Each day, a nutritious meal or snack will be provided.

2019 KIDS COUNT Data Book Released

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The approximately 1.4 million children who comprise nearly one quarter of Missouri’s population are more likely to live in poverty than Missouri’s children in 1990 according to the KIDS COUNT® Data Book released June 17, 2019 by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

The 30th edition of the Data Book — a comprehensive annual report on child well-being for the United States and every state – examines change in how the nation’s kids are doing since the first Data Book was published in 1990 by measuring indicators over time in four areas research consistently shows are important in children’s lives: economic well-being, education, health and family and community.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation ranks Missouri as 28th of 50 states in child well-being this year, a slight decline in ranking from 26th in the 2018 report.
“Missouri’s downward tick in ranking reflects a combination of a persistently slower pace of economic growth in the middle of the country and entrenched disparities in resources and opportunities for Missouri’s kids based on demographics and location,” said Missouri KIDS COUNT® Program Director Tracy Greever-Rice. “About one-fifth of our children live in poverty and we haven’t made reliable inroads into decreasing this proportion of our child population exposed to the long-term consequences of poverty since the KIDS COUNT® Data Book was first published.”

2019KC graphic3 MO

In 1990, 17 percent of Missouri’s children lived in households with incomes below the federal poverty line, and in 2017, 19 percent of Missouri’s children lived in poverty. While many of Missouri’s indicators have remained stable or improved between the 2018 and 2019 KIDS COUNT® Data Book, small percentage increases in teens not in school or working and not graduating on time, as well as an increase of children in single-parent households, children without health insurance and in children whose parents lack secure employment are predictors of future economic instability when these kids become adults. While Missouri’s ranking on the health domain improved from 33rd to 32nd place from 2018 to 2019, the child and teen death rate continues to rise. In 2017, the rate stood at 36 per 100,000, or 521 deaths, between the ages of 1-19.

The 2019 KIDS COUNT® Data Book reports that more than 13 million U.S. children live in poverty, and the nation disparately fails to equip many children with what they need to reach their full potential, especially in communities of color. Obstacles that perpetuate racial disparities can derail African-American, American Indian and Latino kids, undercutting the incredible individual potential of these children. Dismantling these barriers will lead to a brighter future for kids and a stronger America.

The Casey Foundation calls on elected officials and other policymakers to:

  •  - Count all kids. Ensure the 2020 census counts all children, especially those under age 5 and from hard-to-count areas.

  •  - Expand the programs that make and keep kids healthy. In Missouri, staying committed to ensuring all children have access to high quality, reliable, affordable health care including Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

  •  - Provide the resources that are proven to help families lift themselves up economically. Federal and state earned income tax credits (EITC) and child tax credit programs mean working parents can use more of their take-home pay to meet their children’s needs.
“America’s children are one-quarter of our population and 100 percent of our future,” said Casey Foundation President and CEO Lisa Hamilton. “All of the 74 million kids in our increasingly diverse country have unlimited potential, and we have the data, knowledge and evidence to create the policies that will help them realize it. It’s incumbent on us to do just that.”

Bill Dent, Executive Director of the Family and Community Trust, Missouri’s KIDS COUNT® grantee, agrees. “In Missouri, KIDS COUNT® Data Book provides an annual benchmark of what we’ve achieved and what we must continue to do to ensure opportunity for each and every one of our children,” Dent said. “Our child-serving agencies and policymakers collaborate at the state and local level within resource constraints to address the needs of our kids as fully as possible. This year, we’re very focused on ensuring a complete count in the 2020 census. Missouri’s most vulnerable kids live in circumstances and areas most susceptible to being undercounted, while most in need of federal and state resources leveraged upon an accurate count.”

The Family and Community Trust (FACT) serves as the affiliate for Missouri KIDS COUNT®. The Family and Community Trust is the state level, private and public organization that governs a network of 20 Community Partnerships (including ARCHS) focused on achieving better results for children and families. FACT’s KIDS COUNT initiative focuses on child well-being in Missouri. To read data informed stories and access specific data and information about the well-being of children in our state, visit mokidscount.org.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation creates a brighter future for the nation’s children by developing solutions to strengthen families, build paths to economic opportunity and transform struggling communities into safer and healthier places to live, work and grow. For more information, visit aecf.org. KIDS COUNT® is a registered trademark of the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

ARCHS 2019 Summer Food Guide

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Over the past seven years, more than 30,000 students have benefited from ARCHS’ Summer Meals Initiative, primarily through the Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer for Children program (SEBTC).

Unfortunately this year, ARCHS and other Missouri organizations were not chosen to provide this highly successful program. In past years the SEBTC program has ensured students and their families had the extra funding required to offer adequate meals over the summer break.

During the summer extra support is needed since students will miss out on meals that are normally provided at school. Nutrition during the summer helps stimulate learning and better prepares students for a new school year. 

That is why ARCHS has published its annual Summer Meals Guide in effort to bridge the gap between school semesters. Please utilize and share this information with area human service organizations to link local families with food and nutrition resources during the summer season.

Missouri Kids Count Data

Missouri’s Family and Community Trust (FACT) presented new trends in the Missouri KIDS COUNT®  (MKC) data at Child Advocacy Day in Jefferson City on April 2, 2019. The data is comprised of six indicators – poverty, food insecurity, preventable hospitalizations, child asthma ER visits, births to teens, and graduation rates. From these indicators, MKC representatives analyzed, on a county level, Missouri’s ability to foster healthy and safe environments for children.

It is clear that great strides have been made in Missouri to improve the lives of children. The latest MKC reporting (tracking data from 2013-2017) shows that socioeconomic status of children in the state are improving. However, these improvements are affected by both environment and race.

Overall, the number of children living in poverty and food insecure homes has declined over the last five years. Similarly, the number of preventable hospitalizations, asthma related ER visits and births to teens have declined. However, significant differences based on race and environment are observed. For example, in 2017 almost 38% black/African American children compared to 14% white children were reported to be living in poverty. Similarly, babies born to black mothers were twice as likely to be low birthweight infants.  

Children in St. Louis City remain disproportionally disadvantaged compared to others across the state. In 2017 the state wide comparisons ranked St. Louis City last (115 out 115) and show that a little more than 3 out of 10 children are living below poverty.

Comparisons across the three metropolitan communities ARCHS serves show children in St. Charles County continue to enjoy a higher quality of life compared to those in St. Louis County and City respectively. Children in St. Louis City are almost 5 times more likely to be living in a poor household and twice as likely to be in a food insecure households compared to those in St. Charles County. 

MKCData2019Source: Missouri Kids Count (2019, April). State and county outcome measures.  Presented at the 37th Annual Child Advocacy Day, Jefferson City, Missouri.  

FACT is a not-for-profit organization serving as the Annie E. Casey sponsored KIDS COUNT® organization in Missouri - Missouri KIDS COUNT®. ARCHS serves as FACT’s KIDS COUNT® representative in the St. Louis region.