Missouri’s Family and Community Trust (FACT) has released the 2018 Missouri KIDS COUNT Data Book, on April 3, 2018, intended to identify the needs of children and families throughout the state.
Below you will find a link to the 3 counties ARCHS primarily serves in the St. Louis area; St. Louis County, St. Louis City and St. Charles County. The composite rankings of these counties have stayed close to their previous 2014 rankings except for St. Louis County, which ranked lower at 43 instead of 2014's ranking of 34.
A few points to highlight for trends seen across these counties:
Improvements were seen across all 3 counties between 2012 and 2016 when looking at the decrease in children under the age of 18 in poverty, preventable hospitalization for children under the age of 18, births to teens ages 15-19 and food insecurity for children (St. Louis County stayed roughly the same with a minimal increase to food insecurity).
The most significant downward trends during that time period were substantiated child abuse/neglect cases and low birthweight infants (excluding St. Charles County which saw a slight decrease in low birthweight).
ARCHS is the St. Louis region's state designated FACT community partnership. As St. Louis' KIDS COUNT® partner, ARCHS strategically enhances 18 education and social service programs provided at more than 380 locations that annually improve the lives of more than 150,000 of the St. Louis region's most vulnerable children and their family members.
Along with disseminating the KIDS COUNT® information ARCHS actively utilizes this data when developing and evaluating the programs it funds and whether the outcomes from these programs are making meaningful impact in areas that matter to the region.
Aligning with the national KIDS COUNT domains of economic well-being, health, family and community, and education, Missouri KIDS COUNT uses outcome measures and contextual indicators to rank Missouri counties. Counties then use that information to find and address needs in their communities.
Outcome measures include things like children under 18 in poverty, the high school graduation rate, and births to moms without a high school diploma – all strong predicators for the relationship between childhood experiences and adult outcomes. Many of these indicators can be impacted by policy change. With contextual indicators, Missouri KIDS COUNT is looking at population characteristics related to our state’s children. This can be adult unemployment, median family household income, and health insurance coverage rates. The indicators give context to help understand the outcome measures.
“More than two decades of Missouri KIDS COUNT annual snapshots lets us track on trends impacting how our kids are doing across policy initiatives, the evolution of direct service interventions, and shifts in Missouri’s political and economic culture,” said Tracy Greever-Rice, Missouri KIDS COUNT Program Director.
The following three takeaways appear to be evident in this year’s data:
According to the figures, Missouri’s children’s lives have improved, with 9 of 10 state-wide outcome indicators showing improvement in 2016 versus 2012.
The gains for Missouri’s children aren’t always equally distributed. Where children live and the quality of resources in their local communities have an impact on their wellbeing. Children in Missouri’s most rural and most urban communities continue to face the greatest challenges.
Missouri’s non-white children, while improving consistently with white children, continue, as a sub-population, to face challenges grounded in exposure to persistent income inequality and low-resource neighborhoods and communities.
“The release of Missouri KIDS COUNT indicators provides a yearly opportunity for policymakers and service providers to step back from their day-in/day-out work and apply an external and evidenced-base lens to the well-being of children,” stated Bill Dent, Executive Director, Family and Community Trust.
This year’s Data Book release marks the final year that the book will be available in hard copy. Moving forward the data will be available online and through the new Missouri KIDS COUNT App which will be available for download for both iOS and Android. This transition is part of an effort to release relevant and important data as soon as it becomes available.
“The Missouri KIDS COUNT app will facilitate the use of indicators in the public arena, in policymaking, and in the field. FACT is committed to investing in the technology to keep Missouri KIDS COUNT relevant and accessible to all Missourians,” 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. ARCHS serves as the Greater St. Louis area's community partnership and local KIDS COUNT representative. 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.
On March 15, Dr. Dianne Benjamin retired from ARCHS. As ARCHS’ Director of Planning and Research, she provided a strategic range of grant writing, evaluation, and research expertise to the ARCHS’ team.
She was instrumental in documenting ARCHS’ pivotal role in several federally-funded grants and pilot projects related to the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Department of Labor, and the United States Environmental Protection agency.