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.