Missouri Children Are In Poverty. Legislators Are Ignoring Solutions.

With the expiration of key aid programs for families, working Missourians are struggling to keep their households afloat. The result: over 17% of Missouri children are in poverty, including nearly one in five children under 5 years old.

States around the country are proposing innovative solutions to child poverty, like Enhanced Child Tax Credits. 15 states have implemented or improved their child tax credit programs in 2023.

Missouri has experience with Enhanced Child Tax Credit programs: the federal program drove child poverty in Missouri down to 12% Within the first month of the program’s expiration, child poverty increased from 12.1% to 17%.

We also know more children live in poverty in states that haven’t raised the minimum wage. An increase in Missouri’s minimum wage would help bring more Missouri families into the “livable wage” range. 

Not only are Missouri officials refusing to take action, they are actively stripping pre-exisisting programs and exacerbating the problem.

As families flounder, Missouri officials have taken healthcare from kids. More than 75% of kids who lost coverage in the last three months were due to procedural issues, like paperwork getting lost in the mail. Other states have paused terminations to figure out how they can improve their systems – but not Missouri.

Missouri also made headlines earlier this year when officials turned down federal dollars for free lunch for poor kids. Missouri was one of only 10 states who turned down the money, forcing kids in poverty to go without food for the summer.