Advocating for Children and Youth in Missouri


CapitolMany 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.


Advocates Discuss 2017 Missouri Legislature Actions Affecting Children and Families

IMG_3704bThree leaders in Missouri child advocacy discussed the Missouri Legislature’s 2017 actions affecting children and families, at a legislative wrap-up forum on June 15. The forum was organized by the St. Louis Regional Early Childhood Council, Generate Health, Vision for Children at Risk, the St. Louis Family & Community Partnership and the St. Louis Area Council on Child Abuse & Neglect. Speakers were:

See a summary of the presentations.


See the Children’s Leadership Council’s 2017 Policy Priorities



Become a Member:

Join us in advocating for the needs of Missouri’s children as a Member of the Missouri Children’s Leadership Council.  If you re an individual that does not have an organizational affiliation, we invite to become a Partner. Complete the Member/Partner Agreement.


Mark your calendar – Child Advocacy Day, Thursday, April 6, 2017 – Jefferson City


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:

Traci Gleason, Judy Dungan, Cherisse Thibault, Christine Woody

Traci Gleason, Judy Dungan, Cherisse Thibault, Christine Woody

Traci Gleason, Missouri Budget Project
Judy Dungan, Missouri Children’s Leadership Council
Cherisse Thibault, Missouri KidsFirst
Christine Woody, Empower Missouri

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.


Our Purpose

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.

Ongoing Presence

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, or Ruth Ehresman, 314-534-6015,

Read more about the legislative results achieved for children in 2014 and 2015