In Fall 2019, Incarnate Word Foundation convened Missouri funders who invest in child-serving agencies to discuss the “Effects of Missouri Budget & Policy on Children & Families.” Mike Fitzgerald of the Incarnate Word Foundation welcomed attendees (above) to the event, hosted in Columbia, Missouri.
The Honorable Kip Kendrick, Missouri State Representative, welcomed participants and discussed FY2020 budget, effect of tax reforms on state revenue, and expectations for FY2021 budget. He anticipates underfunding services for vulnerable children and families may continue, noting Missouri faces a revenue problem.
- Social and geographic isolation experienced by the families served by Whole Kids Outreach affects the agency, too. They have few peer organizations and cannot serve as many families as urban counterparts.
- Urban Sprouts described the significant need for quality early childhood education and challenges navigating state re-accreditation procedures.
- Both called for increased state investment and noted challenges fundraising and reporting to funders. They requested funders consider: streamlining grantmaking processes, providing application assistance, accommodating rural experience, and multi-year operating support.
Ruth Ehresman (Missouri Budget Project) broke down the approximately $30 billion state budget and allocation process. She walked through current state investment and how Missouri compares to other states. Ehresman further detailed Missouri’s revenue challenges and possible resolutions.
Mike Fitzgerald (Incarnate Word Foundation) provided an update on the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA), which prioritizes prevention, kinship caregivers, oversight of residential treatment programs, and services to older youth. Missouri is not well-positioned to implement this complex federal law by 2026 as required. As child-serving agencies retool to meet guidelines, they may need support. Further information is available via Mary Chant of Missouri Coalition of Children’s Agencies, Fred Simmons of Annie E. Casey Foundation, and Emily van Schenkhof of Missouri Children’s Trust Fund, who will update participants after the next meeting of the state’s core implementation group.
The final panel focused on state-level advocacy. Shawn D’Abreau (Missouri Health Care for All), Jeanette Mott Oxford (Empower Missouri), and Brian Schmidt (Kids Win Missouri) explored topics including:
- Juvenile Justice – implementation of “raise the age” has not begun; must complete by 2021
- Early Childhood Development – Missouri concluding HHS-funded needs assessment and strategic plan; can compete for a three-year HHS implementation grant
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families – there are efforts to increase the benefit (currently $3 per month more than in 1975); with implementation of Senate Bill 24, fewer families enrolled and advocates worry about the effect on children
- MO HealthNet – recent challenges with eligibility verification led to an estimated 100,000 children losing coverage; 2019 McKinsey-led report likely to inform 2020 legislation; effort to expand Medicaid
- Other – launch of Show-Me School-Based Health Alliance of Missouri and state shortage of affordable housing
Advocacy panelists shared information about free, weekly legislative updates and underscored the need to fund systemic policy change. They emphasized the need for public education about social services programs, e.g., #MOSNAPChallenge and MHCFA Story Bank.
The group agreed to gather in May 2020, and requested materials prior so shared time is action-oriented. Topics suggested included:
- Capacity building grantmaking;
- Increasing utilization of evidence-based practice among service providers;
- FY21 Missouri budget; and
- Medicaid update and strategies to serve children who lost coverage.
To participate, funders should contact Lisa Durham at 314-773-5100 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
November 2019 Meeting Materials:
Kids Win Missouri – website
Missouri Health Care for All – website