Effects of the Great Recession on Today’s Children
The lingering effects of the Great Recession continue to be felt by Missouri’s children and families according to the 2016 Release of the Missouri KIDS COUNT (MKC) Databook, announced today by the Family and Community Trust (FACT).
The new databook shows that more than one in five children in Missouri, 21.3% or nearly 289,000, live in poverty, representing a 1.4% increase in child poverty from 2010 to 2014. However, other indicators helpful in predicting poverty are nudging upward. Births to mothers without a high school diploma, a reliable predictor of persistent poverty, has improved in Missouri, with the percent of children born to such moms decreasing from approximately 17% to slightly less than 14%. The report provides an annual, state and county-level analysis of child well-being measuring indicators of Economic Security, Child Protection and Safety, Education and Health.
“The well-being of Missouri’s children and families frames the core of our work,” said Bill Dent, FACT Executive Director. “The ability of our Community Partnerships and other child focused organizations to have relevant, reliable data is critical for them to be successful in their efforts. All of this helps communities better prioritize issues and develop practical initiatives to ensure that children are healthy, secure and prepared to flourish as they mature.”
To examine trends over time, MKC compared current 2014 data to the 2010 baseline data, which revealed that seven outcome measures improved in Missouri during this time period including: births to teens, teen unintentional injury/homicides/suicides, annual high school dropouts, births to mothers without a high school diploma, infant mortality, child deaths and low birthweight
infants. Outcomes that worsened between 2010 and 2014 include: children under 18 in poverty, child abuse/neglect and family assessments and children entering/re-entering state custody.
According to the 2014 data, 1.39 million children under age 18 live in Missouri; nearly one-third (32.1%) are children under age 6; children of color make up nearly one-quarter (24.6%) of the child population; and over one-third (35%) of children live in single-parent families, up from 33.3% in 2010.
“By highlighting trends across time and between geographic areas, the MKC report provides policymakers and advocates with the crucial information they need to make informed decisions regarding how best to support the well-being of children across the state,” said Tracy Greever-Rice, Interim Director of the Office of Social and Economic Data Analysis at the University of Missouri. Additional new data sets will be added to the MKC Databook in the future to support changes in the way data are collected, and to continue show an accurate description of child well-being in Missouri.
Missouri KIDS COUNT is an initiative of The FACT, a long standing organization with a commitment to improving child well-being in Missouri. The FACT is made up of a public-private board and 20 Community Partnerships working across Missouri on programs aiming to improve family and child outcomes. The FACT is in its third year as the Annie E. Casey Foundation KIDS COUNT grantee in Missouri, and the 2016 Release of the MKC Databook is the first as that affiliation.
The 2016 Release of the MKC Databook was produced in partnership with the Office of Social and Economic Data Analysis (OSEDA), the Children’s Trust Fund (CTF) and the Center for Family Policy and Research at the University of Missouri.
For more information or to download the full 2016 Release of the MKC Databook visit mokidscount.org.
Eastside Rotary Club Secures Grant for Playground Equipment
The St. Joseph Youth Alliance is always looking for new and better ways to meet critical needs of families and children. The St. Joseph Alliance reaches out with helping hands into the community through early childhood programming, initiatives designed to raise awareness of needs and opportunities for service within the community, through services of crisis prevention, and the facilitation of youth mentoring and youth asset development. And they do it 365 days a year.
To accomplish their ambitious goal of improving the lives of children and youth, the organization relies heavily on consistent partnering within the community.
Last year the Eastside Rotary club of St Joseph worked with the St. Joseph Youth Alliance to remodel and paint a youth room. The club expressed a desire to continue that partnership again this year by contributing the funds to purchase and the manpower to assemble new playground equipment for the center. The new playground equipment will provide the youngest children served by St. Joseph Youth Alliance an outdoor recreation space when they come for services.
The playground project was completed in the summer of 2012 with the club underwriting half of the $3,000 price tag, with balance provided by the Rotary District 6040. A garden stone with the Rotary emblem was set in place to commemorate the partnership.