The Voices of Democracy
Vision for Children at Risk acknowledges that democracy only works when everyone has a voice. It is critically important that individuals and families are well-educated voters and active citizens whose voices are heard when decisions are made that affect them. VCR works to strengthen caregivers, so they have tools and opportunities to care for themselves and nurture their children. We also work alongside them for mutual education about the impact of policy decisions on them and provide opportunities for them to advocate on their own behalf.
Our elected officials are public servants who should be accountable to communities for their decisions. It is critically important that they hear from grassroots individuals as they make policy decisions.
Expand Medicaid Now!
Obamacare gave States the choice to expand Medicaid to cover uninsured adults. The Missouri Legislature has refused to do this, even though it would provide health insurance to more than 250,000 people who are mostly working adults. Through an initiative petition and a referendum voters approved a change to the Constitution that requires Medicaid to be expanded. In spite of this the Missouri House passed a budget that does not fund Medicaid expansion. We have to persuade the Senate to put money back into the budget so the expansion happens.
Protect SNAP Benefits
Senate Bill 318 will be voted on by the Missouri Senate in the next weeks. This bill will place new work requirements on families who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits (Food Stamps). It has harsh punishments, including cutting individuals completely from the program. So many people are struggling with job loss or are working fewer hours during this pandemic. We should be strengthening this program and helping families survive. This bill will make life more difficult for many families and will harm children in the process.
Keep Utilities On
While we finally seem to be making progress on getting the COVID-19 pandemic under control, for the thousands of families in our region who have lost employment or had hours cut during this crisis the situation remains precarious.
According to the week 23 data (Jan 20 – Feb 1, 2021) of the Household Pulse Survey, 27 percent of Missourians reported difficulty paying for usual household expenses. This includes such basic needs as food, rent, and utility expenses.
Through the work of our Family Support Partners, VCR is encouraging and supporting families to contact Governor Parson and share their experiences with utility shutoffs and disconnection notices. Families are urging the governor to put a moratorium in place immediately and extend it until COVID-19 is under control and people are able to work in a fully functioning economy. Missouri is one of only a handful of states who has never had a utility shutdown moratorium mandated by either its governor or state utility regulators. Winter is not over, the pandemic is not over, and the challenges facing many families in our region are certainly not over. We encourage everyone to contact the governor regarding this critical issue, download our action guide here.
Find Your Elected Officials
Elected officials need to hear from those they represent. This includes thanking them for taking positions that support child well-being, as well as holding them accountable when they fail. Find out who represents you below.
Every eligible Missouri voter must take that responsibility seriously. Voting has become more complicated, and we must all work to overcome voter suppression. Find out everything you need to know about how to vote here, including how to register to vote online: https://www.sos.mo.gov/elections.
Sixty-eight percent of the voters in the November 3, 2020 election in the City of St. Louis, approved Proposition D for Democracy. How does Prop D change voting in the City of St. Louis? Here is what you need to know.
April 6, 2021 is our next general municipal election
- Election information can be found here.
Community Cafés are all about conversations that matter, and we utilize the model to advocate for change. We take real community issues; we create a safe space for community members and stakeholders to talk; we learn and grow together; and we take action together.
As a result of our first Community Café series, focused on transportation, several positive changes were implemented in conjunction with Metro St. Louis: 1) a text-on-demand app indicating bus arrival times; 2) an adopt-a-stop cleanup program; and 3) training for drivers. We continue to host Community Cafés centered around issues that matter to the community.
Opportunities & Trainings
Advocacy is educating and organizing to create positive change. We are committed to providing opportunities and trainings for parents and caregivers that equip them to powerfully use their voice for change. We hold ongoing CLAS Trainings (Enhanced Culturally & Linguistically Appropriate Services Standards) that encourage us all to understand the rights and responsibilities we have when offering or receiving services. We have also provided Strategic Storytelling, Advocacy 101, and continue to listen to the needs and training desires of our parent advocates.
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A Data Book for the Community
Vision for Children at Risk informs the community with data and information on child well-being in the St. Louis area, builds and drives collaboration and strategic action for children, and advocates for policies and investment in children that support child well-being.