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Missouri Missing Opportunities to Give Young Adult Parents and Their Kids a Boost

Casey Opening Doors for Young Parents Report 1
New Casey Foundation report illuminates needs and barriers facing Missouri’s young parents and their children

With limited access to opportunities to advance their education and find family-sustaining jobs, Missouri’s 67,000 young adult parents face hurdles to support their children and fulfill their own potential, according to Opening Doors for Young Parents, the latest KIDS COUNT® policy report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

The Casey Foundation’s KIDS COUNT® grantee in Missouri, the Family and Community Trust, joined the call for action so these young parents can contribute to the state’s communities and economy while raising their children in safe and healthy households.

The fifty-state report issued September 25 reveals that, at 13 percent, Missouri is above the national average (10 percent) of youth ages 18 to 24 who are also young parents. The report highlights the following statewide trends and areas of concern:

● 67,000 children in Missouri have young parents ages 18 to 24.

● 67 percent of children of young parents in Missouri live in low-income families.

● Only 11 percent of young parents ages 18 to 24 have completed an associate degree or higher.

● 26 percent of Missouri’s young parents are people of color, facing challenges exacerbated by discrimination and systemic inequities, with their children standing to suffer the most.

ARCHS Awards $2.3 Million for After School Programming

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This fall, ARCHS has issued $2.3 million to offer after school programming for 2,000 students at 30 locations in the Jennings, Riverview Gardens, and Saint Louis Public School districts.

ARCHS issued grants to the following organizations:

  • Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis
  • EnTeam (Social Emotional Education)
  • Gene Slay’s Boys and Girls Club
  • Northside Youth and Senior Service Center
  • Operation Food Search (Nutrition Education)
  • Provident, Inc.
  • Stray Dog Theatre/Arts in Mind 
  • Unleashing Potential
  • United 4 Children (Professional Development Training)

ARCHS manages the After School for All Partnership (ASAP), in coordination with public and private funders, multiple school districts, and youth development organizations.  ASAP is the largest coordinated after school system in St. Louis, providing free, high quality programming for underserved children in grades K-5.

ARCHS secures funding from the Missouri Department of Social Services, St. Louis Mental Health Board (MHB), and the Norman J. Stupp Foundation to support ASAP. ASAP’s programs focus on academic support/enrichment, social/life skills, health/recreation, character development, and parent/family involvement.

During the last school year, ASAP served more than 2,000 students at 31 locations, provided 66,000 learning activities, and served 370,000 hot meals.

ARCHS Awards $45,698 to Create Summer Learning Programs

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Over the 2018 summer break ARCHS created an educational bridge for students by funding learning activities across the St. Louis area. The goal was to provide specialized enrichment programs to counteract the educational regression seen in children due to limited academic stimulation during the summer months.

According to a 2016 Rand Corporation study, during summers, “children may forget many of the lessons they learned from the prior school year -- particularly low-income children who may have access to few enrichment activities. But new research finds that voluntary high-quality summer programs can help boost achievement in both reading and math...”

To address this, ARCHS issued $45,698 in funds to area arts and education organizations to support learning enrichment activities in June and July.

ARCHS’ awarded grants to:
• Independent Electrical Contractors, Inc.
• Kitchen Conservatory
• Magic House
• Maryville University (in kind services)
• Operation Food Search (Cooking Matters)
• STL Artworks
• St. Louis Carpenters Joint Apprenticeship Program
• St. Louis Science Center
• UM Extension 

The Missouri Department of Social Service funds enabled more than 200 youth to participate in a variety of summer learning activities at Fathers’ Support Center, St. Frances Cabrini Academy, Centennial Christian Church, and Fairview Elementary and Woodland/Hanrahan Elementary Schools in the Jennings School District.

Through these new grants, children in these programs were able to participate in a variety of special programs, such as Operation Food Search’s “Cooking Matters” classes. There, kids learned how to read recipes and prepare and cook healthy meals.

Surveys taken before and after these courses showed the students came away with enhanced cooking skills and more confidence in the kitchen. This can be seen in the increase of children’s willingness to try new food, such as fruits and whole grains, and the general increase in their ability to make a healthy meal for themselves.

Youth also learned STEM-related lessons via the St. Louis Science classes exploring various topics such as basic physics through the interaction of everyday objects. They were guided through movement based experiments that touched on ideas of gravity, friction and momentum.

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Fathers’ Support Center’s Youth Mentoring Program utilized these grants by creating opportunities for career exploration. Over the course of the summer, participants were introduced to several career fields, including nursing via visit to Maryville University where youth learned how to administer medicine using a hypodermic needle and attending to the medical needs of automated manikins. They also got their hands dirty at the St. Louis Carpenters Joint Apprenticeship Program by building their own toolbox from scratch utilizing measures techniques and operating power tools.

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During FY 2018, ARCHS issued 53 grants exceeding $8 million to area education and human service service organizations to enhance the lives of thousands of area families living in poverty and facing disparities and disadvantages.

In addition to funding, ARCHS annually provides 16,000 hours of strategic evaluation, technical assistance, and professional development support to enhance the quality and delivery of programs that focus on early childhood and parenting, school age, and family support initiatives.

ARCHS Awards $92,513 to Support Summer Programs

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ARCHS has issued a $32,513 grant to Provident, Inc., and a $60,000 grant to Unleashing Potential to support summer enrichment programs at four locations that include two elementary schools and two faith-based sites.

The Missouri Department of Social Service funds will enable more than 200 low-income grade school-age students to participate in summer activities at St. Frances Cabrini Academy, Centennial Christian Church, and Fairview Elementary and Woodland/Hanrahan Elementary Schools in the Jennings School District.

The weekday programs conducted by 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.

During FY 2018, ARCHS has issued 52 grants exceeding $7.7 million to area education and social service organizations to enhance the lives of thousands of area families living in poverty and facing disparities and disadvantages.

In addition to funding, ARCHS annually provides 16,000 hours of strategic evaluation, technical assistance, and professional development support to enhance the quality and delivery of programs that focus on early childhood, k-12, and adult learning.

2018 KIDS COUNT® Data Book Release


The families and children supported through ARCHS' funding could be directly impacted by the potential of a low count for the 2020 decennial census. As outlined in The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2018 KIDS COUNT® Data Book, several states could face undercounts, due to a variety of reasons, which could directly impact their funding distribution and political representation.

Executive Director of Family and Community Trust (FACT), Bill Dent, signaled a need for informing Missouri residents of the potential impact that an undercount could have across the state. ARCHS echoes that call to focus attention on the upcoming 2020 census.

Families and children served by ARCHS' funded initiatives will be at the highest risk of fallout from an undercount.

As the 2020 census edges nearer I call on the St. Louis community to stay aware of the process. Many strides have been taken over the past decade to improve the lives of St. Louis families most in need. A miscount could produce an unproductive path for alleviating area poverty over the following decade.

Please take time to study the new 2018 KIDS COUNT® Data Book and learn about national and state child wellbeing trends.

Wendell E. Kimbrough
ARCHS' Chief Executive Officer


On June 27, 2018, The Annie E. Casey Foundation released the 2018 KIDS COUNT® Data Book, its annual look at child well-being in the United States. The Data Book looks at trends across 16 indicators to rank each state across four domains: economic, education, health, and family and community. This year’s Data Book typically compares trends between 2010 and 2016.

However, this year’s Casey Foundation report highlights a serious concern on the horizon, an undercount of children in the 2020 decennial census. Since 1790, the decennial census has counted people, not just citizens. Decennial census counts are the basis for the distribution of federal resources to states, affecting funding for education, health care, and infrastructure. More essentially, the decennial census determines political representation at the federal level as well as within state and local districts. The quality of this decennial census will inform public policy decisions at all levels of public policy until the 2030s.

“The decennial census, which this report highlights, will be the focus of attention in the months ahead to help Missourians understand what it means for us. The results of the census have implications for Missouri that not everyone understands. We will do everything we can to inform that process." stated Bill Dent, Executive Director, Family and Community Trust (FACT).

In Missouri, 39,000 or 10 percent of the state’s children under age 5 are living in hard-to-count census tracts. Reasons for the anticipated undercount include challenges to census outreach efforts due to limited resources, the first ever-digital survey, and the potential of suppressed participation due to a question regarding citizenship status, which has not been asked since 1950.

“If we don’t count children, we render their needs invisible and their futures uncertain,” said Casey Foundation President and CEO Patrick McCarthy. “A major census undercount will result in overcrowded classrooms, shuttered Head Start programs, understaffed hospital emergency rooms and more kids without health care.”

An undercount could mean a step back in the progress that has occurred for Missouri’s children. Current indicators show improvements in nearly all of the outcome indicators, with the exception of Missouri seeing a slight increase in the incidence of low birthweight infants.

“Children living in poor households and communities, children of color, and children living in rural areas are at greatest risk of not being counted.” said Tracy Greever-Rice, Missouri KIDS COUNT Program Director. “The impacts of undercounts are both tangible and ongoing.”

The following are a few areas of progress reported in Missouri’s data. Missouri ranked 26th overall among the states in this year’s report:
  • Consistent with a national trend, 10 percent fewer Missouri children are living in poverty than were in 2010.
  • The percent of Missouri teens neither attending school nor working decreased 44 percent between 2010 and 2016 from nine to five percent.
  • In the 2015-2016 school year, only 11 percent of Missouri students did not graduate from high school on-time, an improvement from the 2010-2011 school year during which nearly 20 percent of students did not graduate with the cohort they started ninth grade with.
  • One hundred forty thousand Missouri children, roughly 10 percent, live in families with a head of household that has not completed a high school degree, an important predictor of both family and neighborhood stability, compared to 164,000 (12 percent) in 2010.
  • The percent of Missouri’s children without health insurance decreased from six percent to four percent between 2010 and 2016 — from approximately 90,000 to 62,000 kids. However, Missouri has actually fallen behind on this indicator relative to other states, which have covered a greater percent of their child population.
Despite gains for Missouri’s children, much progress still needs to be made. Where children live and the quality of resources in their local communities continue to have a major impact on their opportunity and well-being.

Missouri’s non-white children continue to face challenges grounded in exposure to persistent income inequality and low-resource neighborhoods and communities. Generally, children in Missouri’s most rural and most urban communities face the greatest challenges. By sharing the national and state Data Book information, our communities are better educated about the needs of their children and where best to focus their efforts. 

“Missouri continues to fall into the middle of the pack for child well-being, which means we still have work to do. Our role now is to dig into the report and connect with our many constituencies through our statewide network of Community Partnerships, as well as our advocacy, clinical, and research partners, to continue to support meaningful strategies for children and families in our state,” said Dent.

This is the Family and Community Trust’s (FACT) fifth year serving as Missouri’s KIDS COUNT® affiliate. FACT is the state level, private/public organization that governs a network of 20 Community Partnerships focused on achieving better results for children and families. FACT’s KIDS COUNT® initiative focuses on child well-being in Missouri. ARCHS serves as the St. Louis region's Community Partnership.

Download the 2018 KIDS COUNT® databook
Learn about Missouri KIDS COUNT®