For over 20 years, Vision for Children at Risk has worked to build community action and programs improving the well-being of children impacted by poverty and lack of basic supports for their healthy growth and development.
VCR traces its origins to 1990 when members of a north St. Louis church saw in the decaying neighborhood around them a daily tragedy where thousands of children lived in severe poverty. Seeking to illustrate to the rest of St. Louis the severe needs of these children, they commissioned a 1991 report, Addressing the Needs of St. Louis Children at Risk. As a result, community leaders launched a round of strategic goals and action plans through an informal coalition called Vision for Children at Risk. These two elements—data research and collaboration—grew into today’s Vision for Children at Risk and continue to be the core of our work today.
In Research, nine editions of the Children of Metropolitan St. Louis report have been published since 1991 and the Children’s Policy Forum website provides expanded data and best-practice information offerings. In Collaboration, VCR has sparked the creation of dozens of program and policy initiatives to improve child health and well-being in the St. Louis region, generating millions in funding and benefiting tens of thousands of children annually. In Advocacy, VCR has engaged business and civic leaders in working to improve child well-being and helped create a state children’s advocacy coalition.
Recent and past successes include the St. Louis Regional Early Childhood Council, Project LAUNCH, the Missouri Children’s Leadership Council, the St. Louis Family & Community Partnership, the Maternal Child Family Health Coalition, the St. Louis Mayor’s Strategic Plan for Early Childhood Success, the St. Louis Community Children’s Service Fund, SafeFutures and more. Programs developed through VCR have attracted millions of dollars in new funding for children’s services in the region and benefit tens of thousands of children annually. Because of Vision for Children at Risk, many programs and policies are in place today serving children and greater community collaboration exists.
Vision for Children at Risk continues to be a catalyst for positive change in the way the St. Louis region takes care of its children.