Advocating for Children and Youth in Missouri
Many critical matters in policy and funding impacting children are decided in the Missouri Legislature. You can help influence these decisions by participating with the Missouri Children’s Leadership Council. We bring together Missouri statewide child advocacy efforts.
Thanks to Gov. Jay Nixon for signing SB638, ending the statutory prohibition on quality ratings for early learning providers. Thanks also to Rep. Donna Pfautch (R-33, Harrisonville), Sen. David Pearce (R-21, Warrensburg), bill sponsors and Senate bill handler, Sen. Jeannie Riddle (R-10, Fulton) for recognizing the need to provide Missouri parents with the information they need to make an informed decision on their child’s early care and education. See the full news release.
How did children and their families fare in the 2016 Missouri legislative session?
Speakers at the June 8 Legislative Wrap-Up Forum described actions of the 2016 Missouri Legislature affecting children and families. See their presentation materials:
Positive highlights for children and families include:
- The budget includes a 10% increase in the child care provider reimbursement rate, and an increase in the reimbursement rate for providers serving a disproportionate share of low-income children (HB 2011).
- A quality assurance report pilot program was established for child care centers; this program will be voluntary (SB 638).
- Anti-bullying requirements for schools were strengthened (HB 1583).
- A prudent parent standard for foster parents was adopted, giving parents more leeway in making decisions about extracurricular, enrichment, cultural and social activities, without court approval (HB 1877).
On the other hand, the state continues a low level of support for families in poverty, and low funding through the school foundation formula.
The forum was presented by the St. Louis Family & Community Partnership, the St. Louis Area Council on Child Abuse & Neglect, the St. Louis Regional Early Childhood Council, the Maternal, Child & Family Health Coalition and Vision for Children at Risk.
To create a powerful voice to speak out for children. We want to assure that Missouri’s public policy supports broad child and youth well-being, as well as the welfare of children and youth who are at risk because of poverty, abuse/neglect or other risk factors.
The MOCLC unifies the voices of children’s agencies and individuals. Nearly 50 organizations from across Missouri are active in the MOCLC today.
The MOCLC maintains an ongoing presence at the Missouri Capitol during the legislative session through its Director of Policy and Advocacy, Judy Dungan. Vision for Children at Risk provides organizational support to the MOCLC led by Advocacy Coordinator Ruth Ehresman. Lutheran Family and Children’s Services is the fiscal agent for the MOCLC.
Know What’s Happening in the Legislature—In Time to Take Action
During the annual legislative session, all are invited to join in weekly conference calls providing updates on current legislative activity. You also can keep up with the most recent legislative news related to children through weekly email updates during the session. Legislative alerts are disseminated on urgent action issues. At the start of each session, the MOCLC develops a legislative agenda for children. See notes from the weekly conference calls. Follow the MOCLC and Judy Dungan on Twitter @JudyDunganMO
For more information or to be included on the MOCLC email list, contact Judy Dungan, 314-707-7032, email@example.com or Ruth Ehresman, 314-534-6015, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read a summary of the 2015 Missouri Legislature’s results affecting children, as presented at a June 2015 forum by speakers Judy Dungan of the MOCLC, Amy Blouin of the Missouri Budget Project and Emily van Schenkof from Missouri Kids First.