On July 22, 2014 the Annie E. Casey Foundation released its 25th annual KIDS COUNT Data Book. The report identifies trends in child well-being since 1990, the first year the report was published, and compares national and state-level data from 2005 to 2012.
The report ranks states on overall child well-being in four categories: economic well-being, education, health, and family and community life.
Missouri has improved its ranking in education and health, but has decreased in three of four indicators of economic well-being and two of four indicators of family and community life. However, there have been improvements in family and community life, with data showing an increase in children whose head of household has a high school diploma and a decrease in teen births.
In 2014 the Family and Community Trust (FACT) was selected by the Annie E. Casey Foundation to represent KIDS COUNT in Missouri.
FACT is a non-profit organization supporting 20 community partnerships around the state whose mission is to find solutions to improve the lives of families and children in their communities. ARCHS is the designated community partnership for the St. Louis region.
Download the National KIDS COUNT Report
Download the Missouri KIDS COUNT Summary
Access the Missouri Data
ARCHS' Culinary Training Institute graduated 14 female ex-offenders on July 1, 2014, after they completed an eight-week class at St. Louis Community College-Forest Park.
Participants in the program are currently under state or federal supervision with probation and parole officers in St. Louis City or County. Through the ARCHS' program, they received academic culinary training leading to "ServSafe" certification. They will also receive job training from St. Louis Community College and job placement, wrap around social services support, and life skills preparation from Employment Connection.
"I've learned my lesson, but because of my past, I've been working dead-end jobs and I'm ready for my life to go on," said Matika Kelley. "The Institute is opening up a lot of doors for me, and I feel like the chain and ball have been taken off of me. I'm tired of being condemned for something I did several years ago, and this opportunity will let me show what I'm all about."
The program will allow participants access to career paths as a chef, head cook, line cook, institutional cook, and more in the culinary field. According to a National Institute of Corrections Report, the number of incarcerated women has skyrocketed, at rates exceeding men
St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department Lieutenant Shawn Dace watched more than 20 men warm up for their St. Louis NITES Basketball League game at Tandy Park Recreational Center. He greeted two late arrivals with a quick handshake, before telling them to get out on the court with their team.
"We provide a safe environment for these guys to come in and not worry about beefs and whatever is going on out in the streets," Dace said. "We get a plethora of different personalities- guys with criminal records, guys fresh out of the penitentiary, and guys in college. The guys in college mentor some of these guys who are in the streets, and the guys in the streets mentor the guys in college and tell them to keep doing what they are doing. It goes both ways."
The St. Louis NITES Basketball League is a partnership between ARCHS, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, St. Louis Department of Parks, Recreation, and Forestry, and Fathers' Support Center. Approximately 250 men between the ages of 18-35 form 10 teams for an 11-week basketball league. Police officers coach the teams in the league.
To play in the league, participants are required to take six life skills classes coordinated by Fathers' Support Center, which teach the young men about topics ranging from health and fitness, to financial literacy, to STD prevention, to fatherhood responsibilities.
"The life skills class is the lifeblood of this program," Dace said. "These guys can play basketball almost anywhere, but the real product they leave with is what they get from life skills, because they can use and apply what they learn anywhere.
Kids Vision for Life-St. Louis (KVFL) secured $25,000 at its fundraiser on June 12, 2014 at the Moonrise Hotel. Guests enjoyed delicious food, a silent auction, and learned about KVFL's most recent accomplishments. The money raised was donated by generous individual and corporate sponsors to support KVFL's upcoming 2014-2015 school year’s vision care services.
Over the past five school years, Kids Vision for Life has screened 38,565 students, examined 6,478 students, and prescribed 5,580 eyeglasses.
Kids Vision for Life provides free eye screenings to students in K-8 at identified St. Louis area (Title 1) schools. Free eye examinations are provided to students who fail the screening, and students who fail the examinations are given a free pair of eyeglasses. Vision disorders are the most prevalent handicapping condition in U.S. children, particularly with special needs children.
Resources to support Kids Vision for Life are provided by ARCHS, Crown Vision Center, Essilor Vision Foundation, University of Missouri-St. Louis School of Optometry (mobile van), as well as individual and corporate donors.
PHOTO GALLERY: KVFL FUNDRAISER
ASAP students at Laclede and Mann elementary schools are using grants from Monsanto to create evidence-based solutions that promote science for after school students.
This month, Monsanto presented the two ASAP programs with $1,000 Dannette Ward Science Education grants. The grants will be used to complete an outdoor ecosystem at Mann Elementary, and will assist Laclede Elementary with a school-wide science fair that takes place during the after school hours.
"The funds will be used to emphasize science education, highlight collaboration between the school and the ASAP after school programs, as well as a recruitment tool to show students the kinds of fun and educational activities that take place in after school programs," said Gloria Hampton, Director of After School Programs at Neighborhood Houses.
Founded in 2007, ASAP is a community effort to increase the quality and access to after school programs in the Greater St. Louis area. More than 2,200 students are served through ASAP each year