Strategic Action to Promote Child Well-Being in the St. Louis Region
For more than 20 years, coordinated, strategic action to promote child, youth and family well-being in the St. Louis region was pursued primarily through the vehicle of the St. Louis Metropolitan Children’s Agenda. As a broad-based, collaborative, data driven initiative, the Children’s Agenda provided a forum and process for addressing children’s needs, as well as producing a specific set of policy and program strategies to improve the lives of children, youth, and their families. The Children’s Agenda focused largely on at-risk, high need populations promoting greater collaboration and coordination among agencies in the region and helping to make more effective and strategic use of community resources.
Learn About Current Strategic Initiatives
St. Louis Regional Early Childhood Council – building a coordinated system for advancing early childhood development
St. Louis Family & Community Partnership – working to prevent child abuse and neglect, promote strong families and provide safe, permanent homes for all children
Missouri Children’s Leadership Council – coordinating statewide legislative advocacy and providing a voice for children’s needs
Project LAUNCH – promoting young child health and wellness in the 63106 and 63107 ZIP codes
The St. Louis region is now moving to use of a new overarching framework to promote child, youth, and family well-being. Over the course of the past several years, community leaders have studied the collective impact approach to advancing cradle-to-career development of children and youth. In the past year a formal collective impact feasibility study and planning process were set in motion under the title of Ready by 21 St. Louis. Employment of a collective impact approach is emerging as the new primary strategy to improve the well-being of St. Louis area children, youth and families, as well as the communities in which they live.
Recent developments in Ferguson have now added new urgency to the need for the St. Louis region to take collective action to promote the well-being of marginalized populations and local communities. The wide range of issues highlighted in Ferguson are not isolated to that suburban municipality, but rather are indicative of problems prevalent across the St. Louis region, state of Missouri, and the whole of America. Some of the things at issue in Ferguson — policing practices, governmental structures, fairness in political representation, etc. — extend beyond the conventional focus of child, youth and family well-being, but are closely related. Many of the problems underlying the situation in Ferguson lay, however, at the heart of the issue of promoting the well-being of children, youth, families and communities. Included are poverty, equal opportunity, early childhood development, health, education, employment and housing.
For reasons new and old, St. Louis would be well-advised — indeed, now is essentially compelled — to take the strategic action necessary to promote the well-being of its children, youth, families and local communities. It is our hope that this website generally, and particularly this section of the site focused on Strategic Action, can serve as a tool to help the region take the next step along that critical path.