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Connected Communities-Thriving Families

Every child deserves to live safely in a home in their community. Too many Missouri children enter the child welfare system and leave their families and communities for reasons unrelated to harm or neglect, but due to misdirected responses to family and community hardship. This flawed approach not only harms children, families and communities, but is unsustainable as a system. Missouri has experienced a 49% increase in the number of children in foster care since 2009, now at approximately 14,000, and existing strategies are not reducing the number of children coming into foster care or increasing family and community stability.

We Believe

  • Families belong together.
  • Poverty should not be a reason to separate families.
  • All children and families have strengths.

Our Approach

We propose a systems redesign that engages and empowers communities to support and empower families. This redesign will rebalance the continuum of care to connect appropriate resources that respond to community conditions and community-specific solutions to inform policy changes and funding priorities.                                   

What will success look like:

Engaged and empowered communities, equipped to support children and families, serving as both a safety net and springboard for their members so children can remain safely in their homes and communities

Equal access to resources that address Social Determinants of Health

Redirection of Child Welfare Resources to Child and Family Well-Being Investment

Equitable and Inclusive System of Care

What we know

  • As of the end of May 2022, there were over 13,982 children in the custody of the state of Missouri, a 49% increase over the number of children in care at the end of May 2009.
  • America Health Rankings ranks Missouri at 43rd in the nation for family and community safety, 42nd in public health funding, 7th highest in violent crime, and 7th highest in segregated communities.
  • More than half of Black children in America are the subject of a child abuse and neglect investigation by the age of 18.
  • In State fiscal year of 2021, 53% of substantiated reports in Missouri were due to a finding of neglect which is broadly defined and inconsistently applied.
  • Only 6% of hotlines in fiscal year 2021 were substantiated.
  • The top conditions for removal by Children’s Division region in FY 19 were as follows: 
  • Northwest: Parent Drug Abuse (298), Neglect (245), Inadequate Housing (148)
  • Northeast: Parent Drug Abuse (655), Neglect (494), Inadequate Housing (244)
  • Southeast: Parent Drug Abuse (737), Neglect (529), Inadequate Housing (275)                 
  • Southwest: Parent Drug Abuse (658), Neglect (610), Inadequate Housing (289)   
  • Jackson: Parent Drug Abuse (366), Neglect (312), Inadequate Housing (167), Physical Abuse (159)
  • St. Louis: Neglect (214), Parent Drug Abuse (202), Physical Abuse (125)
  • The top five reasons children were referred to Intensive-In-Home (IIS) services:
  • parent/child conflict,
  • parenting skills problems,
  • communication,
  • child neglect,
  • mental health/emotional problems.