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
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
"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.
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
Over the course of the year, each provider completed professional development trainings and assessments. ARCHS' staff assisted the providers in setting goals for their programs and conducted home site visits.
At the brunch, several providers offered testimonials about how ARCHS' Educare has benefited them both professionally and personally. In addition, all providers in attendance received children's history themed books, and were able to check out the Missouri History Museum's new "History Clubhouse" area.
PHOTO GALLERY: EDUCARE BRUNCH