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New report highlights poverty's effects on Boone County children

Friday, August 17, 2018 - By Zara McDowell

Summary

Boone County and the city of Columbia are using a new report to highlight how poverty is affecting the community, with a particular focus on children.

The report, called "A Focus on Poverty," highlights drop-out rates in Columbia Public Schools and how those rates are affected by poverty.

"Concentrated poverty is keeping Boone County from reaching its potential," the authors of the report wrote. It outlines four areas where "poverty is experienced in multiple forms:" education, housing, jobs and health.

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Psychologist seeks to help people overcome the effects of trauma

Wednesday, August 15, 2018 - By Hiroaki Kono

Summary

A Columbia psychologist who three years ago started HeartSpace Clinic hopes to provide treatment for people who have suffered trauma leading to emotional distress but who otherwise cannot afford care.

Chris Lawrence, 54, is the director of HeartSpace, a nonprofit organization that not only offers counseling consultation with patients but also educates organizations and the community about the impact of trauma and the importance of resilience in coping with stress.

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County commission approves $5.8M for children’s mental health

Thursday, December 28, 2017 - By Brittany Ruess

Summary

Revenue garnered from a Boone County sales tax will benefit more than 25 programs providing mental health and social services programs to youth.

The Boone County Commission on Thursday approved about $5.8 million in spending from the county’s Children’s Services fund on local programs offering case management, counseling, mental health screenings, out-of-school activities and more. Boone County voters in 2012 approved a permanent quarter-cent sales tax to fund youth mental health services.

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Local data now just a few keystrokes away

Thursday, November 9, 2017 - By Brittany Ruess

Summary

A website consolidating local socio-economic, educational and health data to be used by charitable donors, government officials and the public is now live.

The Boone Impact Group — a collaborative group made up of officials from the city of Columbia, Boone County and Heart of Missouri United Way — developed booneindicators.org, an online spot for local data funded by city and county dollars.

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Children's Services Board to review $7.8 million in proposal requests

Monday, October 2, 2017 - By Kacen J. Bayless

Summary

Over at the Roger B. Wilson Boone County Government Center, there is a bidding war going on over the funding of several children’s service organizations.

With the 2018 budget approval date set for mid-December, Boone County Community Services Department officials are evaluating how and where money will be distributed. Director Kelly Wallis said her department accepted open requests for children’s services funding this year and received 35 proposals totaling $7.8 million.

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Boone County projects another year of low sales tax growth

Wednesday, September 13, 2017 - By Brittany Ruess

Summary

Boone County officials have started building the 2018 budget under the assumption sales tax growth will be anemic again.

More than 70 percent of the county’s annual revenue comes from sales taxes, and five major funds, including mental health services for children, emergency preparedness and road and bridge maintenance heavily depend on it.

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Columbia Public Schools, Center for Urban Agriculture seek partnership

Monday, July 10, 2017 - By Brittany Ruess

Summary

Columbia’s elementary schools with the highest rates of students receiving free and reduced-price lunches could receive healthy eating services through a local not-for-profit if the initiative is approved for funding from the Boone County Community Services Department.

The Columbia Board of Education approved during its Monday meeting an agreement with the Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture, or CCUA, an urban farm and gardening group, for nutrition services targeted to third and fifth grade students in eight elementary schools.

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Boone County receives grant to help break cycle of homelessness

Thursday, June 1, 2017 - By Gabriela Velasquez

Summary

A team effort led to Boone County receiving a technical grant from the Corporation for Supportive Housing to combat repeated imprisonment or jail time among the county's homeless population, Northern District Commissioner Janet Thompson said Tuesday afternoon.

The New York-based Corporation for Supportive Housing announced that Boone and three other counties — Salt Lake County in Utah, Clark County in Nevada and McLean County in Illinois — would receive "expert assistance" with collecting and analyzing data to identify those in their communities most in need of supportive housing. This effort is a part of the Pay for Success initiative by the Social Innovation Fund.

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County receives grant to assist with homeless, criminal justice data integration

Sunday, May 28, 2017 - By Brittany Ruess

Summary

A national not-for-profit has selected Boone County to receive its assistance in establishing a database that combines homeless and criminal justice data to help officials better identify housing needs and resource gaps.

CSH, an organization that seeks housing solutions, chose Boone County as one of four counties nationwide to participate in its new Social Innovation Fund Pay for Success initiative, which uses criminal justice and homeless data to determine how people leaving incarceration integrate back into their communities.

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City contemplates how to fight human trafficking

Sunday, May 21, 2017 - By Carolyn Heger

Summary

Columbia's mayor and Second Ward councilman have differing perspectives about the roles of city government and law enforcement should play in fighting human trafficking and prostitution.

While Second Ward Councilman Michael Trapp believes social services receiving local government funding can more effectively combat sex trafficking than simply a police response, Mayor Brian Treece feels law enforcement should take a more active stance in the battle against human trafficking.

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Children's services fund, in fourth year, funds 33 programs

Tuesday, May 16, 2017 - By Haotian Mai

Summary

In the past year, the Boone County Mental Health Coalition has screened 22,935 students and trained 550 staff from six school districts in the county, from kindergarten to high schools.

The coalition trains staff members to enhance their ability to understand and handle disruptive behavior in schools. More important, it provides mental health screening for all students. The screenings can either be completed by teachers or through student self assessments that are led by administrators.

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Boone County approves millions for early childhood programs

Tuesday, May 9, 2017 - By Ming Ma

Summary

The Boone County Commission is dedicating more than $3.5 million to new early childhood programs.

The programs, funded by Boone County Children's Services, targets teachers, parents and others who interact with children before they reach kindergarten. The goal is to improve the social and emotional well-being for the county's youngest children.

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Boone County dedicates millions to early childhood programs

Monday, May 8, 2017 - By Brittany Ruess

Summary

More than $3.5 million from the Boone County Children’s Services fund will be dedicated to new early childhood programs targeting teachers, parents and others interacting with children before they reach kindergarten.

The Boone County Commission approved the spending, spread out over a three-year period, during a meeting last week. The nine-member Boone County Children’s Services Board sought early childhood initiatives with a focus on improving the social and emotional well-being for the county’s youngest children.

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Community Services report shows effects on social, health programs

Wednesday, February 15, 2017 - By Brittany Ruess

Summary

A recently released annual report detailing how the Boone County Community Services department is spending the Children’s Services fund shows mostly positive effects on the programs it’s financially supporting.

Voters approved a quarter-cent sales tax in November 2012 to create the Children’s Services tax, which funds mental health and social welfare services for children and their families.

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Additional counselors sought at county jail

Tuesday, March 28, 2017 - By Brittany Ruess

Summary

Tom Fuhrman starts his work day at the Boone County Jail in the “A” pod, where newly-booked inmates and those who are suicidal stay.

As the jail’s only mental health counselor, he assesses those on suicide observation and changes their status level if appropriate. He directs the correctional officers on how to manage inmates on suicide watch and then goes to his office to check email and communicate with jail staff about inmates with mental health issues.

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Implicit bias starts early, study finds

Friday, February 17, 2017 - By Brittany Ruess

Summary

The school-to-prison pipeline is more likely the preschool-to-prison pipeline, based on new research out of Yale University.

The “pipeline” metaphor is used to describe youths’ interaction with the juvenile justice and adult criminal justice systems because of policies or procedures at institutions such as schools. A study released in September led by Yale researcher Walter Gilliam suggests that children as young as infants and toddlers experience implicit bias from the adults who care for them, which could have long-term effects.

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Children's Services Board to spend $2 million on youth homeless services

Wednesday, February 15, 2017 - By Brittany Ruess

Summary

Since last week, three more Columbia youths have become homeless.

The number of homeless students at Columbia Public Schools has risen to 225 this year. Most of them are living in hotels and motels or are doubled up and couch-surfing, said Carla London, CPS director of student services. A small portion of the homeless student population is living in shelters, and an even smaller group is on the streets.

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Legislators asked to make education funding a priority at annual breakfast

Thursday, December 22, 2016 - By Roger McKinney

Summary

Boone County educators on Thursday asked elected officials to make school funding a priority in the next legislative session.

At the Southern Boone School District Annual Government Breakfast, which has been organized for three years by Superintendent Chris Felmlee, school board President George Carney singled out several lawmakers. Attending were Cheri Toalson Reisch, R-Hallsville, incoming 44th District state representative; Sen.-elect Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia; and state Rep. Chuck Basye, R-Rocheport -- though Reisch and Rowden left before the breakfast was over.

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MU Bridge Program filling a gap for children who need mental health help

Thursday, October 20, 2016 - By Huilan Zhan

Summary

A school-based program for children in Boone County who need mental health treatment is getting high marks from people who've seen how it works.

Nurse managers and psychiatrists from the MU Bridge Program have been visiting Columbia public schools and offering mental health services each school day since March 2015. School-age children from private schools who reside in Boone County can also participate if there is a need.

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Family Access Center for Excellence offers new approach to mental health intervention

Sunday, August 14, 2016 - By Brittany Ruess

Summary

The Family Access Center for Excellence of Boone County, or FACE, is set to open Monday to serve the mental health needs of youths up to age 19 and their families throughout the county.

The Children's Services Board, an appointed nine-member panel that allocates the Children's Services Fund, approved spending $4.1 million over a three-year period for FACE, which the University of Missouri Office of Sponsored Programs proposed. Voters approved a quarter-cent sales tax in 2012 to establish the Children's Services Fund.

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Boone County takes proposals for childhood development programs

Tuesday, July 12, 2016 - By Dan Messineo

Summary

BOONE COUNTY, Mo - Boone County Community Services presents commissioners with a list of organizations wanting funding for early childhood prevention programs.

"Helping to prevent any problems down the line. Helping to ensure that they're ready for kindergarten when the time comes. Helping to ensure that their families are avoiding crisis situations," Kelly Wallis, with Boone County Community Services, said.

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School officials laud Children's Services funding

Wednesday, May 4, 2016 - By Jodie Jackson Jr.

Summary

Three school superintendents raved Tuesday about new options they have for students and staff through the Boone County Schools Mental Health Coalition, a program that provides mental health prevention and services through a $1.19 million grant to the University of Missouri from the Boone County Children's Services Board.

"Our teachers have been hungry for this type of support," said Lynn Proctor, superintendent of Harrisburg School District.

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FACE project prepares to link kids, families with services

Saturday, March 19, 2016 - By Jodie Jackson Jr.

Summary

A teenager who repeatedly skips classes, a child who must be removed from school for disrupting a classroom and an adolescent who responds to chaos in his home by lashing out at family members are examples of young people who probably need professional counseling and intervention.

In the past, the only way for most of these Boone County youths to qualify for some of those services was by entering the juvenile justice system in what social service and corrections officials call the "school-to-prison pipeline." A $4.1 million initiative aims to give those children new opportunities.

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Report highlights results of Children's Services funding

Friday, March 18, 2016 - By Jodie Jackson Jr.

Summary

Before it was disbanded four years ago, the foundering Boone County Mental Health Board rarely had enough members show up to have a quorum for an official meeting, and when the group did meet, even informally, members were often frustrated that they could only talk about the need for additional mental health services in Columbia and Boone County.

"There was no money," said Michele Kennett, the defunct board's former chairwoman.

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Juvenile office lauds Family Access Center creation

Monday, January 18, 2016 - By Jodie Jackson Jr.

Summary

A new avenue for connecting children to mental health services is expected to further reduce the number of kids ending up in juvenile court.

"There are times when there's a kid who has a mental health" issue and immediate referral to the juvenile office might not be the best course of action, said Ruth McCluskey, juvenile court supervisor for the 13th Judicial Circuit.

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County ready to award $4.1 million for family access center

Saturday, January 9, 2016 - By Jodie Jackson Jr.

Summary

A $4.1 million award over three years from the Boone County Children's Services Fund to the University of Missouri is intended to create a single point of entry for families and youths who might need local mental health and behavioral health services.

The effort, known as Family Access Center for Excellence, or FACE, will not provide mental health services but will help screen and direct families to available services in the community.

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County ready to award $900,000 for community, kids mental health

Wednesday, November 11, 2015 - By Jodie Jackson Jr.

Summary

The first round of funding from Boone County's Community Health Fund, in addition to five more programs funded by the Children's Services Fund, likely will be finalized Thursday by the Boone County Commission.

Together, the funding awards will total $900,000.

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Agencies say new tax fund helps kids, families

Saturday, September 19, 2015 - By Jodie Jackson Jr.

Summary

Vinita Khanna remembers when the Putting Kids First coalition began weekly meetings five years ago to talk about gaps in local mental health services for kids and families.

The grass-roots effort of some 20 social service agencies and individuals led to commissioning a needs assessment that showed a wide need for counseling, substance abuse treatment and prevention programs and other mental health-related services.

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Children's Services Board soliciting family access center proposals

Friday, March 6, 2015 - By Jodie Jackson Jr.

Summary

After awarding $5.1 million in December for programs aimed at mental health care for kids and their families, the Boone County Children's Services Board is preparing to begin its second round of funding.

The county purchasing department on Thursday posted a request for proposals for the creation of a family access center. The center would comprise one or more locations and agencies that would provide information and referrals to individuals and families who need mental health and social service programs.

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First programs paid for by new service fund set to help kids - Video

Wednesday, December 10, 2014 - By Michael Doudna

Summary

On Thursday, the Boone County Commission could vote to provide $4.3 million in funding to help improve the lives of at-risk kids.

The $4.3 million comes from the Boone County Children's Service Fund. The fund was created two years ago after Boone Proposition 1 passed. All indications from the service fund are the Boone County Commission will approve the 18 different programs. The inspiration behind the fund, is to improve the lives of children, youth and families in Boone County by strategically investing in services for children and families in need.

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Commission to approve $4.3 million in Children's Services Fund contracts

Tuesday, December 9, 2014 - By Ashley Jost

Summary

The Boone County Commission is set to approve the first round of contracts from the the county's Children's Services Fund on Thursday after a first reading Tuesday morning.

The commission gave initial approval to a recommendation for 18 contracts Tuesday, totaling about $4.3 million. The commission approved a budget amendment of $5.2 million last week to set the stage for these requests and more that will follow.

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Commission sets stage for children's service funding

Wednesday, December 3, 2014 - By Jodie Jackson Jr.

Summary

The Boone County Commission on Tuesday approved a budget amendment of $5.2 million to set the stage for votes on 23 funding requests to the county's children's services board.

At least five of those 23 contracts will be on the Tuesday county commission agenda for a first reading, with a second reading and public hearing tentatively set for 1:30 p.m. Dec. 11. Kelly Wallis, community services director, said she hoped the first batch of children's services contracts will be "as big as possible" to get the funding out to agencies for programs that provide temporary shelter, services to unwed mothers, counseling and related services, and other programs that fall under the statutory guidelines of county children's services.

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Child Services, Pondering an Election Success

Tuesday, November 4, 2014 - By Henry J. Waters III

Summary

On this never-never day when voters trek to the polls and outcomes are not yet clear, let us relish an example of electoral success. Let's take a moment to review the Boone County Children's Services sales tax.

As recent history proves, voters are not unremittingly enthusiastic about new sales taxes. We had plenty of reason to be skeptical about Putting Kids First, the proposal for the quarter-cent sales tax on the Nov. 2012 ballot. We had to vote "yes" purely on faith.

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Boone County considers first Children's Services Fund contracts

Friday, October 31, 2014 - By Roger McKinney

Summary

The Boone County Commission on Thursday gave initial consideration to providing Rainbow House $73,291 from a special sales tax earmarked to help children.

If the commission approves Rainbow House's request, the emergency shelter and advocacy center will get money from the county's Children's Services Fund, said Kelly Wallis, Boone County community services director. The Children's Services Fund is financed by a quarter-cent sales tax approved by voters in November 2012. The fund contains about $8.8 million, Wallis said.

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With children's services tax, the work has just begun

Sunday, October 12, 2014 - By Les Wagner

Summary

I grew up in Boone County. I know firsthand the value our citizens place on safe, healthy children and strong families. I wasn't surprised when voters passed the Putting Kids First sales tax initiative creating the Children Services Fund. I also wasn't surprised when Boone County government responded by creating a new Community Services Department and thus committed to providing human resources, purchasing, budgeting, accounting, legal and auditing expertise to this effort.

The children's services tax will generate about $6.5 million per year. The passage of this initiative represented more than concern for the future of our children.

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Children's Services Board nearly ready to start funding

Friday, October 10, 2014 - By Jodie Jackson Jr.

Summary

As the Boone County Children's Services Board prepares to make its first-ever funding awards, the board is already discussing ways to streamline its review process for the next round of funding.

The board has made a preliminary recommendation for more than $5 million in funding for proposals aimed at improving access to mental health care and preventing substance abuse and mental health issues in kids. The board discussed several of the proposals again during a closed session on Thursday, and Community Services Director Kelly Wallis will meet with 11 agencies next week to fine-tune their proposals.

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Boone County children's fund requests top $5 million

Tuesday, September 30, 2014 - By Jodie Jackson Jr.

Summary

The Boone County Children's Services Board is in the final stages of recommending more than $5 million in funding for proposals aimed at improving access to mental health care and preventing substance abuse and mental health issues in kids.

"I think we really have an opportunity to make a great impact," Community Services Director Kelly Wallis told county commissioners and former commissioners Monday during a quarterly roundtable luncheon at the Boone County Government Center.

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Boone Boone County Commission talks about how to close fairgrounds

Monday, September 29, 2014 - By Karol Ilagan

Summary

Current and former Boone County commissioners met Monday to discuss shutting down the Central Missouri Events Center, progress on the 911/Emergency Management Center and updates on how the Children's Services Fund will be used.

Presiding Commissioner Daniel Atwill chaired the meeting, along with Commissioners Karen Miller and Janet Thompson of the Southern and Northern districts, respectively. Six former commissioners joined the meeting as part of a quarterly roundtable, during which incumbent commissioners can learn from the knowledge and experience of their predecessors.

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County's Children's Services Board still reviewing proposals

Saturday, September 6, 2014 - By Jodie Jackson Jr.

Summary

Final decisions on programs and services to support with Boone County's Children's Services Fund likely will be made in November, four months after the county received 58 funding proposals.

Kelly Wallis, director of the county's community services department, told the Boone County Commission on Thursday that the review of proposed services and pilot programs "is still ongoing."

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Boone County leader seeks new approach with troubled youths

Monday, July 28, 2014 - By Jodie Jackson Jr.

Summary

Northern District Boone County Commissioner Janet Thompson this morning pleaded with city and school officials to move forward with an agreement that will divert some troubled youths -- typically minorities -- toward counseling and similar services rather than the juvenile justice system.

In a breakfast meeting among county, school and city officials, Thompson pointed to a recent report by the Office of State Courts Administrator that showed Boone County has the state's highest rate of disproportionate minority contact.

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County receives 58 funding proposals for children's services

Saturday, July 12, 2014 - By Jodie Jackson Jr.

Summary

Boone County's first-ever request for proposals for funding through the Children's Services Fund has drawn 58 plans aimed at improving the mental health of kids in the county.

Some agencies such as Great Circle, Rainbow House, Childcare Aware and Youth Empowerment Zone submitted more than one proposal. At least 10 of the proposals were from entities connected to the University of Missouri.

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Panelists discuss ways to help children with mental health issues

Wednesday, May 21, 2014 - By Roger McKinney

Summary

Thoughts of suicide, sexual trauma, substance abuse, anxiety and depression often are issues for Boone County children, according to panelists speaking yesterday at a panel discussion called "What's Happening in Mental Health Services for Children and Youth."

Local authorities on mental illness among children participated in the discussion on the topic at the Columbia Public Library. About 40 people attended the event sponsored by the library and the League of Women Voters of Columbia-Boone County.

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New Boone County Community Services Department to send out requests for proposals soon

Thursday, May 1, 2014 - By Andrew Denney

Summary

Within two weeks, the fledgling Boone County Community Services Department plans to issue a pair of requests for proposals from local agencies for mental health services and innovative approaches to care that could be launched as pilot programs.

Kelly Wallis, the department's director, said the purchase-of-service RFP is intended to seek out existing and well-defined services for youths and families. With the pilot program RFP, the department seeks services that now are not being provided locally but are evidence-based and can provide a "meaningful impact" on children, the department's website states.

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Boone County Children's Services Board hears funding requests

Friday, March 14, 2014 - By Andrew Denney

Summary

The Boone County Community Services Department has been collecting revenue from a voter-approved sales tax for almost a year and is now charting a course for how best to spend the $6.5 million in annual revenue it expects to collect by asking local social-service providers about gaps in care and resources.

Among the concerns that representatives of social-services agencies shared with the Children's Services Board at a hearing last night were difficulties finding mental-health care providers who will take Medicaid payments and finding reliable transportation, particularly for children who live in Boone County's more rural locales.

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Child services seeks input from providers

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Summary

The Boone County Children's Services Board is asking local service providers to make their cases for funding at a series of upcoming public hearings. The agencies are asked to attend one of four remaining sessions that will be held at the Boone County Commission chambers in the Boone County Government Center at 801 E. Walnut St.

Organizations whose services align with Missouri statutes 67 and 210 are encouraged to attend the sessions. The next session is March 13, focusing on community-based programs and family intervention services.

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New Boone County Community Services director getting department off the ground

Monday, February 17, 2014 - By Jodie Jackson Jr.

Summary

Just six weeks into her job as Boone County's first director of the new Community Services Department, Kelly Wallis' calendar is full of meetings with county officials and local social service providers.

Southern District Commissioner Karen Miller suggested at a recent county commission staff work session that Wallis' crash course in county government and the full calendar must be similar to "drinking out of a fire hose."

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Lawyer tapped to lead Boone County's new Community Services Department

Tuesday, December 17, 2013 - By Jodie Jackson Jr.

Summary

Kelly Wallis, a longtime advocate for families and children through her own law practice and the Missouri Department of Social Services, has been hired as the first director of Boone County's new Community Services Department.

Wallis, 35, was introduced last night at a meeting of the Children's Services Board. The new department will oversee the county's social service spending, the children's services fund, and the community health and medicine fund that comes from BJC Healthcare's $500,000 annual payment to the county as part of BJC's lease for Boone Hospital Center.

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Boone County Commission seeks board members to oversee Children's Services Fund

Friday, January 18, 2013 - By Christopher White

Summary

Applications are open for the new Boone County Children's Services Board.

The nine-member board will oversee the development and funding of the Boone County Children's Services Fund, which was created when voters passed a quarter-cent sales tax increase in the November election. The tax will generate an estimated $5.4 million in annual revenue to provide mental health services for young people in Boone County.

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Boone County Children's Services Board to spend $4 million on county's youngest children

Monday, October 17, 2016 - By Brittany Ruess

Summary

Supporting children's emotional well-being during their earliest years can have positive, lifelong effects. With funding from sales tax revenue, the Boone County Children's Services Board hopes to help provide that advantage for Boone County youths.

The nine-member board is looking to spend $4 million over two years on a mental health initiative targeting children from birth to kindergarten entry. Dollars will come from the Children's Service Fund, which brings in a quarter-cent sales tax voters approved in 2012.

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