November 5, 2022
Nearly 20 years ago, Missouri passed legislation allowing counties to establish a local Community Children’s Services Fund to provide mental health services to county children ages 0-19.
It is a county wide fund to help our children, youth and their families face tough issues like mental illness, suicide prevention, child abuse, and substance abuse.
Approved by 59% of Jackson County voters in 2016, in a difficult year for tax increases, the Children’s Services Fund of Jackson County has made mental health services possible for more than 60,000 children and youth in the last five years.
*The funds generated are used solely for children in Jackson County
“In just five years, the Children’s Services Fund has been able to award over $68 million in support of 129 programs across 85 funded partner organizations,” Rob Whitten, Chief Executive Officer of the Jackson County Children’s Services Fund says. “This year alone, those funds will allow almost 64,000 children and youth across Jackson County to receive critical mental health services, while also supporting over 400 staff positions who are working with those kids and their families.”
Hope House, one of the many organizations that receives funding from the Children’s Services Fund, advocates for victims of domestic violence by providing resources to survivors and their children.
“Since passing in 2016, we have been able to expand the services we provide to children” MaryAnne Metheny, Hope House CEO, states. “This fund has made a world of difference not only for kids, but for families, schools, and the places we live.”
The Fund’s resources have protected Jackson County’s youngest victims of crime, abuse, domestic violence, homelessness, and suicide. It provides safe harbor and new beginnings to those who need it most.
The challenge has been that the Jackson County Children’s Services Fund was restricted to half of its allowable funding, keeping critical services from the children of Jackson County. The
Children’s Service Fund can only support 60% of its funding requests, even with limits on request size.
To continue the work being done by Hope House and many other agencies in Jackson County, the Fund must be renewed in November. “Voting ‘Yes’ on County Question 1 to renew the fund and adjust the sales tax levy by only 1/8 cent will allow these services to not only continue,” Whitten says. “But to expand and serve even more children in the years to come.” It’s a small ask for a big impact — just seven cents a day for a family of four.
For more information about the Jackson County Children’s Services Fund, visit jacksoncounty4kids.org, and don’t forget to vote on November 8th.
Hope House provides comprehensive domestic violence services including emergency shelter, 24-hour crisis hotline, court and hospital advocacy programs, individual and group therapy, safe supervised visitation program, as well as comprehensive services encompassing prevention, education and support for thousands of people traumatized by domestic violence every year. The 24-hour hotline number is 816-461-HOPE (4673). For more information: hopehouse.net.