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Citizens for Missouri's Children (CMC) recently released the 17th annual KIDS COUNT in Missouri Data Book. The annual publication, a collaborative project of CMC, the Children’s Trust Fund (CTF), and more than 30 public and private organizations from across the state, documents the status of children in all 114 Missouri counties and the City of Saint Louis.

The book provides information on measures of child well-being covering areas such as health, education, financial security, juvenile justice and child protection. In conjunction with the release of the book, CMC has a unique interactive web tool that allows users to compare county-by-county data over time.  The 2009 Data Book finds that during the most recent reporting period, Missouri made improvements in six of the key KIDS COUNT indicators including a reduction in child abuse and neglect, while four key indicators were worse.

"So often families are faced with a variety of problems and stresses especially during these economically challenging times.  We know that families with high stress levels are at greater risk for child abuse and neglect which is why it is so important for communities to keep their pulse on the critical issues and indicators facing children and families."   said Kirk Schreiber, CTF Executive Director. "The county by county information provided by Kids Count can help communities identify issues and gaps in services so they can develop a plan to address these issues.  It also helps counties identify what is going well." 

Osage County, just east of Jefferson City, was ranked as the state’s most child-friendly area, based on a composite of all KIDS COUNT measures. St. Charles County was second, followed by Platte, Andrew and Worth Counties in northwest Missouri. The City of Saint Louis ranked last in the composite rankings, with McDonald, Sullivan, Ripley, Pemiscot and Dunklin Counties rounding out the bottom five. The state’s two largest counties, Saint Louis County and Jackson County, ranked 15th and 87th respectively.

Data for the report is compiled from more than 80 federal, state, county and municipal sources by the Office of Social and Economic Data Analysis (OSEDA) at the University of Missouri.  Primary funding for the project is provided by the Chidlren's Trust Fund, the Missouri Foundation for Health, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Molina Healthcare of Missouri, and the St. Louis Mental Health Board.

[View 2009 KIDS COUNT in MO Press Releases by Region]