As much impact as the Children’s Services Fund has on Jackson County kids, it’s not enough. We’re currently only able to meet 60% of the need for local children’s mental health funding – and there are many organizations that have yet to apply. So the need is likely higher than we know. That means more than 100,000 kids aren’t getting the support they need. And make no mistake, there’s a critical need for programs and services that support the wellbeing of kids and youth.
The American Academy of Pediatrics, among other child health professional groups, has declared a state of emergency in child and adolescent mental health. The situation was bad before the COVID-19 pandemic, was worsened during 2020, and is not getting better.
That’s evident here in Jackson County. The 2022 Missouri Student Survey of 6th – 12th graders showed:
- 16.4% felt hopeless about the future
- 11.9% seriously considered suicide
- 9% planned suicide
- 6% attempted suicide
Those numbers are higher than the Missouri state average – and higher than they were in the 2020 survey. That’s why funding for the CSF is critical – and why funding needs to be increased and made permanent.
What Will More CSF Funding Support?
The CSF is a voter-supported organization that currently collects 1 penny for every $8 spent in Jackson County, and uses those funds to support local nonprofit, public school, and charter school programs that promote mental health and social-emotional wellbeing for children and youth.
We fund 10 areas that support kids and youth by addressing mental health and social-emotional wellbeing:
- Crisis Intervention
- Home & Community-based Intervention
- Individual, Group, & Family Counseling
- Outpatient Psychiatric Treatment
- Outpatient Substance Use Treatment
- Respite Care
- Services to Teen Parents
- Temporary Shelter
- Transitional Living
If you look at our service area maps, you’ll see that funds are distributed all over the county, not just the KC metro area. And you’ll see which zip codes are underserved — or not served at all. More funding for the CSF means there will be more money available to serve vulnerable kids and families.
Why is This Type of Support for Childrens’ Mental Health Funding Successful?
Mental health isn’t just one thing. It’s a complex interaction between multiple aspects of health — emotional, cognitive, social, physical, and behavioral. The brain undergoes huge growth and development during childhood and adolescence — and it shapes their future health and wellbeing. When circumstances negatively impact one aspect of a child’s life, it can cascade into other areas, leaving them vulnerable to both immediate and long-term mental health issues.
What can potentially damage a child’s mental health? A few causes include:
- Food insecurity
- Family instability
- Unsafe shelter
- Domestic violence
- Lack of coping skills
- Unsupportive caretakers
The CSF is currently funding 102 programs, in organizations all over the county, that collectively take a holistic approach to uniting care, connection, and creativity, and providing opportunities to give hope to Jackson County kids.
Funded partners include MOCSA, The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Kansas City, Guadalupe Center, Raytown School District, and many more. We’re proud of the work we get to do to help Jackson County kids. But there’s so much more that can be done – and it can’t be done without continued funding.
If you know of Jackson County residents who are concerned about children’s mental health, you can let them know about the work currently being funded — and how much more support our kids need. Send them a link and start a conversation.