The teenagers of Generation Z – the rising cohort born after 1995 that follows the Millennials – experienced improved education and health indicators despite growing up in the midst of the economic downturn, according to the 2016 KIDS COUNT® Data Book from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
The 2016 Data Book, which focuses on key trends in child well-being in the post-recession years, measures child well-being in four domains: economic well-being, education, health, and family and community.
The 2016 KIDS COUNT® Data Book shows improvement since 2008 for Missouri in many key areas as it relates to child wellbeing, including:
- Teen birth rate decreased by nearly 40%
- High school students not graduating on time declined from 20% to 13%
- Child and teen death rate declined from 36 per 100,000 to 28 per 100,000
“We’ve seen improvements in several areas of interest over the past eight years,” said Bill Dent, Executive Director of Missouri Family and Community Trust (FACT). “However, many Missouri children are being raised in poverty, or without health care, and this is something that needs to be addressed.”
While advancements have been made, there are still opportunities for improvement in Missouri in the following areas as highlighted by the 2016 KIDS COUNT® Data Book:
- One in five children live in poverty
- One in ten children live in neighborhoods where 30% or more of all households are low income
- As recently as 2014, approximately 100,000 children lack health insurance
On Sunday May 15, 2016, ARCHS partnered with Child Care Aware of Eastern Missouri, Grace Hill, PNC Bank, Project LAUNCH, The Magic House, Ready Readers, T.E.A.C.H. MISSOURI Scholarship, United 4 Children, and Youth In Need to sponsor and host the second annual St. Louis Early Educator Appreciation Event. More than 300 early childhood educators attended the event at The Magic House to celebrate leaders and acknowledge the outstanding work that serves area children through home-based and center programs. This year's event recognized six educators for their exceptional leadership in the child care field:
-Lavera Winston, Outstanding Home Care Provider
-Sandra Moore, Early Educator of Excellence
-Tatiana Sheffer, Early Childhood Field Leader
-Veronica Blockton, Early Childhood Trailblazer
-Abresha Lucious, Educator Going Above & Beyond
-Ellicia Qualls, Community Leader & Child Advocate
Each year the field of early educators grows in St. Louis, and ARCHS is proud to provide training and technical assistance to the outstanding individuals and organizations that provide these much needed services.
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ARCHS' IT and Data Director Eric Monroe represented Missouri at the national Annie E. Casey Foundation KIDS COUNT® Data Institute held in St. Louis in May. The training covered the use of data animation, geographical information systems (GIS), infographics, dashboards, and other tools to best communicate national and state-level KIDS COUNT® data and stories. More than 100 KIDS COUNT® state grantees from across the nation participated in the event.
Eric provides strategic technical support for ARCHS' information technology and database management systems, tracking 18 education and social service programs that annually serve more than 90,000 children and their family members. The Missouri Family and Community Trust (FACT), is the official Annie E. Casey KIDS COUNT® partner in Missouri. As one of FACT's 20 "community partnerships," ARCHS serves as the St. Louis region's KIDS COUNT® representative.
ARCHS' Diane Page has been appointed Co-Chair of the Quality Committee of the Missouri AfterSchool Network (MASN). Diane will work to continue the committee’s mission to ensure the development of resources that programs can use to improve the quality of after school in Missouri. She previously served on MASN's STEM Committee.
At ARCHS, Diane provides strategic technical assistance and professional development support to the After School for all Partnership (ASAP) that annually serves more than 4,000 children and their family members. Congrats Diane.
On April 29, 2016, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon visited Rogers Middle School in Affton to announce a partnership with national anti-hunger not-for-profit Share our Strength and a coalition of state agencies and community-based organizations that includes ARCHS.
No Kid Hungry Missouri will work with school districts and other stakeholders to implement proven strategies to increase access to school breakfast, after school snacks, and summer meals. Currently, one in five children in Missouri struggle with hunger. In addition to this effort, ARCHS will continue this summer to lead a regional partnership with the USDA, the State of Missouri, and targeted school districts to increase summer food benefits through the nationally acclaimed Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer for Children (SEBTC) program.
"Child hunger is a serious problem – but it's a solvable one. That's why we're teaming up with No Kid Hungry to connect more kids in Missouri to the healthy food they need where they live, learn, and play," Gov. Nixon said. "The No Kid Hungry Missouri campaign will work to break down the barriers that stand between kids and the nutrition they need to grow up healthy and strong."
Students who eat school breakfast are 20 percent more likely to graduate high school, average 17.5 percent higher on math test scores, and attend 1.5 more days of school per year. But currently, too many students from low-income families miss out on free or reduced-price school breakfast because it is most often served before they arrive, or they do not want to face the stigma of eating alone in the cafeteria.
Making breakfast a part of the school day, by serving it in the classroom or at "Grab n Go" carts, can overcome these barriers. For example, Rogers Middle School offers Second Chance Grab and Go breakfast to all students between second and third hour. More than 50 percent of students participate and the program has recently expanded to Affton High School with help from student leadership.