City of St. Louis Tax for Children Summary

March 13, 2017

Tax Approval

  • Date Passed: November 2004
  • Tally in Favor: 56.34% of votes

Tax Administration

  • Name of Administrative Entity: St. Louis Mental Health Board (MHB)
  • MHB Webpage:
  • MHB Executive Director: Jama Dodson
  • Other Staff: For a complete list, visit the MHB website (see About Us section).

Board of Directors (Trustees)

  • Selection: Nominations are received and made by the Office of the Mayor of the City of St. Louis and approved by the Board of Aldermen of the City of St. Louis.
  • Term Length: Trustee terms are for three years with no term limits.
  • Current members: Visit the MHB website to learn more about current board members (see Board of Trustees section).
  • Meetings: The Board meets on the third Thursday of each month, except in December and July. Visit the MHB website for specific meeting dates.

Application Process and Funding

  • Applying for Funds: Funding is announced through a community meeting and issuance of a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA). In addition, ads are placed in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and St. Louis American newspapers. The MHB uses a competitive grant application process, which includes both a pre-application submission (either a concept paper or letter of intent) and a full application submission. Access to the NOFA pre-application and full application is available through the MHB’s website (see Community Investments section).
  • Review Process: Pre-application submissions undergo a multi-level staff review process with written recommendations submitted for consideration by the Trustees. Sub-Committees, comprised of Trustees and community residents, review all applications and submit recommendations to the full Board, which makes all funding decisions. Consumers with lived experience and their families participate in the review process.
  • Funding Period: Community Children’s Services Fund competitive grants are approved for a three-year cycle and renewed annually contingent on satisfactory performance in years 2 and 3 of the cycle. Contracts are awarded one fiscal year at a time. Some funding is made available for emerging needs or in collaboration with other funders to address critical community issues. This funding support is non-competitive and must be approved annually.

A complete list of agencies funded is available on the MHB website (see Community Investments section).

  • Working with Other Funds: MHB also administers the City’s Community Mental Health Fund, established by a property tax levy approved in November 1992, more than 10 years prior to the passage of the Community Children’s Services Fund in November 2004. In addition, MHB actively seeks to leverage its tax funds with other sources. Consistent with its vision to strengthen service delivery systems and improve access, it currently manages two U.S. Department of Health and Human Services federal grants: (1) Administration for Children and Families Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), Services for Survivors of Torture; and (2) Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), System of Care Expansion and Sustainability Cooperative Agreements.

Before each funding cycle, the MHB conducts a needs assessment to ensure that funding priorities align with the needs of the community. The MHB also conducts focus groups to identify emerging needs and other relevant information not captured in needs assessments. MHB has adopted a strength-based framework for funding priorities and has identified three impact areas for investment by the Community Children’s Services Fund in the City of St. Louis: (1) Thriving & Connecting – Children and youth are safe, healthy, and connected; 2) Learning & Leading – Children and youth learn, lead, and succeed; and 3) Ready for Work – Youth are prepared to enter the workforce. The following stories provide some examples of programs currently implemented in the City of St. Louis that address some of the impact areas previously identified.

Inspiring Stories

30 Days to Family®—Helping Children Find a Stable Home

30 Days to Family® is a program created by the Foster and Adoptive Care Coalition to meet mandates requiring states to identify and provide notice to all grandparents and other adult relatives of every child entering state custody, so that a desirable placement can be made within 30 days. Through the use of creative approaches, including engaging private investigators when families are not easily located, an average of over 30 prospects are found for each child. The uniqueness of the program resulted in a TIME Magazine feature article. In addition to identifying potential placement providers for each child, every effort is made to keep siblings together, maintain children in their school of origin, and preserve the child’s important relationships with friends and supportive adults.

In 2014, Foster and Adoptive Care Coalition commissioned an evaluation, which led to the addition of 30 Days to Family® to the California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare website. In 2016, a follow-up evaluation study showed that, of the approximately 300 children in foster care, who were part of the original 30 Days to Family® evaluation cohort, only 26 of the children from the control group had re-entered foster care. Further, no children from the group that received the 30 Days to Family® intervention had re-entered foster care. Currently, in its fifth consecutive year of funding (as of July 2016), the project has helped 98 children attain a stable foster placement.

Successful Programs Achieving Better Mental Health Outcomes among Juvenile Court Youth

MHB has long acknowledged that youth involved with the Juvenile Court are among those at the highestrisk for negative social outcomes. Since 2006, the Board’s Juvenile Justice Initiative has worked with community providers and Court staff to intervene systematically in formal and informal cases. Two of the programs, supported by the Community Children’s Services Fund since its inception, continue to yield significant results.

The first program, Multisystemic Therapy (MST), is an evidence-based practice delivered with greater than 95% fidelity by Places for People. It is a high intensity, 24/7 wraparound intervention for families, whose children are critically at risk of out-of-home-placement. Over the past 10 years, 250 families have benefited from this program. Of those in the program, 88% incurred no additional legal charges, 83% remained at home, and 82% remained in school, within one year of completion.

The second program, Psychological Services, pays for a team of licensed psychologists and clinical social workers to respond to the needs of youth in detention on a 24-hour basis. Over the past 10 years, the team has helped transform the Detention Center to be fully trauma-informed. The team is one of only two efforts in the State to be fully rostered by the Missouri Academy of Child Trauma Studies (MoACTS) to deliver trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy. Also, given the Court’s success with its Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative in reducing the number of youth in detention, the team now follows and treats youth after their confinement.

14 Missouri Kids Count Data Book (2016)
15 Missouri Kids Count Data Book (2016) County Pages

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