Policy Priorities

Kids Win Missouri works with our partners on a variety of issues to ensure youth have the supports they need to be happy and successful. We help lead on the following issues.

Juvenile Justice

Missouri’s juvenile justice system is recognized nationally as a model program, and effectively provides alternatives to incarceration that maximize positive outcomes for youth. 

Trying youth in adults courts exacerbates racial inequities. Substantial research shows that youth incarcerated in the adult penal system have a greater risk of experiencing physical and sexual abuse and are more likely to reoffend than those who receive rehabilitation treatment in the juvenile system. 

  • Individuals with a prison record find it more difficult to get a job, and employers too often rejected their applications out of hand.
  • Incarceration is associated with a loss of soft skills, on-the-job training and work experience.
  • A formerly incarcerated individual is more likely to be out of the labor force, and, when employed, works fewer hours and experiences lower gains in wages. 

Kids Win Missouri is dedicated to ensuring Missouri’s youth have opportunities to receive fair and just treatment as juveniles and to enter adulthood on a path to success.

Family-Centered Approaches

Everyday in Missouri, nearly 14,000 children in Missouri are in foster care. These children and their families are the most at-risk among us and need support at many different levels: they’ve suffered from abuse and neglect, are in need of health and mental health care, need child care or after school care, trusted mentorship and more. Kids Win Missouri works to support children and families that are part of Missouri’s foster care system, advocating for evidence-based and family-centered approaches that help ensure children have the opportunity to be safe, healthy and happy.

Supporting Youth Experiencing Homelessness

Homelessness threatens the ability of youth to access the health, education and social supports they need to be happy and successful. We worked with our partners, including Missouri School Boards’ Association, Missouri Primary Care Association, St. Louis Foster Care and Adoptive Coalition, Children’s Mercy in Kansas City, and others, to form a coalition that collaboratively develops and advances priorities to support vulnerable youth.

Credit: National Conference on State Legislatures