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Food for Thought: The Power of Nutrition


This time of year is meant for reflection and to recognize thankfulness in your home, workplace, and community. ARCHS is thankful to oversee funding and strategic planning that allowed 12,191 children at 72 locations throughout the St. Louis area to eat nutritious snacks and meals during the 2019 fiscal year. It is heavy to report that 865,400 Missourians are struggling with hunger as many across the country prepare to sit down for a Thanksgiving feast. ARCHS' nutrition initiatives are aimed to provide resources for nutritious foods to keep young minds sharp, allow families a peace-of-mind, and decrease hospitalizations.

ARCHS also aims to keep nutrition education alive. Hundreds of kids in St. Louis may now be able to help their parents with cooking this holiday season. Operation Food Search's trained nutrition professionals are teaching cooking courses at several ARCHS' afterschool locations. Participants learn to navigate through a kitchen with affordable ingredients, safe knife skills, flavorful recipes, and healthy MyPlate proportions.

See a complete breakdown of ARCHS' nutrition accomplishments in an easy-to-read infographic. 

2019 Missouri Reentry Conference: Managing the Balance


More than 400 reentry professionals came together to master "Managing the Balance." The 2019 Missouri Reentry Conference's keynote speakers and breakout session presenters helped professionals realize what it takes to take care of themselves, especially after handling traumatic situations with justice-involved individuals. The 14th annual reentry conference was co-hosted by ARCHS, Missouri Department of Corrections, Missouri Social Services, and Family & Community Trust. 

The reentry conference featured several new activities for professionals this year. A huge accomplishment for hosts was turning the conference 100% paperless. Participants used a customized smartphone app to interact with presenters, take surveys, network, and share photos of the conference through their eyes. There were also new hands-on demonstrations surrounding workforce development to show how justice-involved individuals are being trained for manufacturing jobs using virtual reality goggles and the sensory experience to understand inmates with mental health disorders. 

You can view ARCHS' entire album of 2019 Reentry Conference Photos here.


Next year's conference is set for November 4-6, 2020 at The Lodge of the Four Seasons in Lake Ozark, MO. If you are interested in participating on a deeper level, keep an eye out for the call for sponsors, exhibitors, and presenters this spring. 

ARCHS School-Age Initiatives Director Inspires Hundreds

Four of ARCHS' School Age Initiatives Directors recently sought professional development  at the MOSAC2 Afterschool Conference in Lake Ozark, MO to better serve and stragegically enhance 29 afterschool locations served throughout St. Louis. ARCHS' funded partners did not go unnoticed. In fact, ARCHS afterschool provider Stray Dog won an "Afterschool Program of the Quarter" award for incredible work at Mason Elementary. 

School-Age Initiatives Director Diane Page also gave a TED talk to the entire conference on what motivates her to walk into ARCHS everyday and work with afterschool programs in St. Louis. Listen to a portion of her heartfelt speech here.

Meeting with Missouri Governor Mike Parson


ARCHS had the opportunity to meet with Governor Mike Parson to share our impact in the Greater St. Louis area and discuss how we can better serve communities in need on Thursday, October 10, 2019. We were also joined by The Family and Community Trust Executive Director William Dent. 

The state currently entrusts ARCHS with more than $11 million in social services related funding that helps us dramatically improve the lives of children and families in St. Louis' most disadvantaged and impoverished communities. In the 2019 fiscal year, more than 190,000 St. Louisans benefited from our early childhood, school age, and workforce initiatives.

To view the governor's entire photo album from this meeting, click here

2019 KIDS COUNT Poverty Report



On September 24, 2019, the Annie E. Casey Foundation released “Children Living in High-Poverty, Low-Opportunity Neighborhoods,” a KIDS COUNT® data snapshot that examines where concentrated poverty has worsened across the country despite a long period of national economic expansion.

The report, which analyzes the latest U.S. Census data available, finds that between 2008–2012 and 2013–2017, Missouri saw a slight one-percent decrease in the number of children living in concentrated poverty. In the 2013-2017 period, 121,000 (9%) of Missouri’s kids lived in areas of concentrated period, down from 136,000 (10%) estimated for the 2008-2012 period.

Growing up in a community of concentrated poverty — that is, a neighborhood where 30 percent or more of the population is living in poverty — is one of the greatest risks to child development and well-being. Approximately 12% of children in the United States, or more than 8.5 million children, live in these settings. Children in high-poverty neighborhoods are less likely than other children to have access to healthy food, quality schools, reliable medical care, and stable, safe housing. And children who grow up in high poverty neighborhoods are more likely to remain poor as adults.

While a small percentage of Missouri children living in concentrated poverty has declined, the experience of Missouri’s children has varied by key demographics such as race and age, and geographic location. The percent of white, non-Hispanic children in Missouri has ticked up from 4% to 5% between the study periods, while the percent of black children living in neighborhoods with 30% or more of households in poverty has declined from 33% in the 2008-2012 to 28% in the 20132017 period. Very young children (ages 0-4) are less likely to live in concentrated poverty areas than in the earlier period, whereas the percent of older children and young adults (ages 5-24) has remained generally consistent in Missouri.

Children living in Kansas City and the city of St. Louis (U.S. Census Bureau-defined principle city of metropolitan areas) are slightly less likely to live in concentrated poverty (30% in 2008-2012/27% in 2013-2017) than they were in the past, though over 75,000 children are included in this estimate. However, the both the number and percent of children living in concentrated poverty in non-metropolitan areas has increased modestly from 26,000 to 29,000 (8% to 9%).

“Here in Missouri, we work through 20 community partnerships throughout the state to ameliorate the impacts of concentrated poverty and other risks to families and children through supporting opportunities for parents to develop workforce skills as well as providing needed services and resources to children,” said Bill Dent, executive director of the Family and Community Trust (FACT).

The Casey Foundation urges leaders — from the national and state level to counties, cities and other local settings — to act now to help families lift themselves out of these circumstances. Policies at the community, county and state levels that can have a significant impact on the lives of children in struggling families include:

Ending housing discrimination based on whether a person was formerly incarcerated or is using a federal housing voucher.

Expanding workforce training that is targeted to high-poverty, low opportunity communities.

Developing and funding small-business loan programs that serve entrepreneurs in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color — or people that traditional lenders tend to reject, such as individuals with poor credit or criminal records.

The Family and Community Trust (FACT) serves as the affiliate for Missouri KIDS COUNT®. The Family and Community Trust is the state level, private and public organization that governs a network of 20 Community Partnerships (including ARCHS) focused on achieving better results for children and families. 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.