Making Every Penny Count for Children’s Mental Health Funding

We understand how making every penny count is vital to reaching our goal to provide mental health funding for children and youth in Jackson County. And it’s important to you, too — our community members, leaders, partner organizations, and advocates. 

While we are funded by a Jackson County ⅛ cent sales tax, we strive to be ethical, accountable, innovative, collaborative and inclusive in our distribution of funding. From establishing guidelines for funding eligibility to reviewing applications and awarding funds as reimbursements, our independent board endeavors to maximize the reach of funds to as many organizations as possible while supporting their needs well.

Funding Eligibility

It’s essential for Children’s Services Fund to remain true to our enabling ordinance and state statutes by aligning the distribution of funds directly with the mental, social and emotional wellbeing of children. That’s why we’ve established criteria for the eligibility of organizations who apply for and receive funding, including:

  • Applicants must be Missouri nonprofits (with 501c3 status) or government entities and be certified or licensed in Missouri to provide funded services to youth and kids age 19 or under.
  • They must get at least 25 percent of their funds from sources other than CSF and conduct independent financial audits yearly.
  • They must maintain their clients’ confidentiality 
  • They must provide services regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, gender or sexual orientation.
  • They must screen employees and volunteers who provide services directly to children and youth.

In addition, we can fund:

  • Any 501c3 or school district that  offers assistance in any of our ten service areas, including:
    • Crisis Intervention
    • Home & Community Based Intervention
    • Individual Group and Family Counseling
    • Outpatient Psychiatric Treatment
    • Outpatient Substance Abuse Treatment
    • Prevention
    • Respite Care Services
    • Services to Teen Parents
    • Temporary Shelter
    • Transitional Living Services

There are a few things we cannot fund:

  • Inpatient medical, psychiatric, and chemical dependency services
  • Transportation services
  • Capital campaigns, construction and building expenses

Checks and Balances to Maximize Mental Health Funding for Kids

From the application process through the awarding of funds, Children’s Services Fund takes extra care in learning about our partner organizations, their needs and challenges, and the impact they are making on Jackson County kids. We know we can only support 60% of the need. Therefore, it’s of utmost importance to us (and the community) to confirm our dollars are going to support children’s mental health funding. 

For each funding cycle, we start with an application enrollment window. This gives applicants time to confirm their eligibility and submit their funding requests. Past opportunities have allowed organizations to request up to two awards with a $300,000 maximum amount per request. (We also will consider $350,000 requests for shelter or transitional services.) Our board then assesses each organization, their services, and amount in funds needed, using a scoring system to determine the percentage of requested funds that will be awarded.

(The most recent funding opportunity spanned May 2021 through November 2021. In late 2021, our board completed the application review process and approved nearly $33 million in funding for 2022 and 2023!)

Other checks and balances include:

  • Disbursing funds after services have been provided
  • Partners completing semiannual reporting to provide narrative and insights regarding what’s going well, the challenges they face and goals they hope to achieve
  • CSF Program Officers complete two site visits each year for every partner organization to glean and review data and develop relationships
  • Acquiring quarterly reports from partners regarding demographics, gender, age, and race
  • Providing opportunities for stakeholders to join town hall sessions, listening to their feedback and making adjustments to maximize impact

Supporting the Most Organizations Possible

It’s important to us to offer as much support county-wide to as many organizations as possible. We do this by:

Awarding funds in varying amounts 

Larger organizations typically ask for the most funds possible, while smaller ones may only request $5,000-$15,000 a year. To ensure we maximize our funds, awards are catered to what an organization needs and can realistically utilize.  

Using a scoring system to award funds

We may not fully fund some applications, but instead, choose to expand our award dollars to meet more requests.

Working with our partner organizations

We understand the challenges children’s mental health organizations face. We work to establish partnerships with each organization we fund.  Through those relationships we can learn about the work being done, allowing us celebrate success and solve challenges together. Through building relationships with each organization, we’re able to help to the degree we know them, and offer support based on previous experiences. 

Offering one-time funding opportunities

In 2021, we were able to offer $2 million in funding specifically to help organizations face the technological challenges COVID-19 brought them. 

Measuring our impact on children’s mental health in the community

As we look to the future, we’re excited to measure more accurately the impact of our children’s mental health funding in Jackson County. By developing a community impact framework and identifying two to three targeted, measurable goals, we’ll be able to deliver better data to drive more help for children and youth facing social, emotional and mental health struggles. 

Want to know more about who we fund? See the full list of our partner organizations, and learn more about how Children’s Services Fund is making a difference today and tomorrow for kids in Jackson County, MO.

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