Clara Bates

Clara Bates

Clara Bates covers social services and poverty. She previously wrote for the Nevada Current, where she reported on labor violations in casinos, hurdles facing applicants for unemployment benefits and lax oversight of the funeral industry. She also wrote about vocational education for Democracy Journal. Bates is a graduate of Harvard College and a member of the Report for America Corps.

A $78 million boost to Missouri’s child care subsidy slated to reach providers next month

By: - July 24, 2023

Child care providers who accept a subsidy from the state to serve low-income families will see a boost in payments next month, thanks to a $78.5 million funding increase approved by Missouri lawmakers earlier this year.  The funding hike, included in the state budget signed by the governor, went into effect July 1. It won’t […]

Missouri has decided to turn down millions in federal food aid for low-income children

By: - July 14, 2023

After struggling for nearly a year to get federal food assistance to qualified low-income families, Missouri has decided not to participate in this summer’s program — forgoing tens of millions of dollars in federal aid. The problems administering the Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer program, or P-EBT, played a major role in the decision not to […]

Push to help Missourians with disabilities avoid Medicaid loss awaits governor’s action

By: - July 4, 2023

A proposal to help working Missourians with disabilities access affordable health care is among the bills now awaiting action by Gov. Mike Parson. The legislature this year approved a pair of bills that include tweaks to eligibility for the Ticket to Work Health Assurance Program, which provides health insurance through Medicaid to employed adults with […]

Time limits resume for federal food assistance, potentially impacting 26,000 Missourians

By: - July 3, 2023

Following the end of the federal public health emergency, around 26,000 Missourians receiving food assistance are once again subject to work requirements to maintain their benefits. If the state does not receive the proper paperwork from participants, many could lose benefits beginning in October for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as food stamps. […]

Missouri advocates say abortion ban has far-reaching effect on health care

By: - June 24, 2023

Missouri’s ban on abortion has had sweeping effects on health care, abortion rights advocates say — even though restrictions were already so severe many deemed the state “post-Roe” long before the landmark case was overturned. Saturday marks one year since the Supreme Court overturned the constitutional protections for the right to access abortion in the […]

Missouri lags behind most states in children’s health, report finds

By: - June 22, 2023

Missouri ranks in the bottom third of all states for children’s health, according to a recent report using data from 2021. The annual Kids Count Data Book from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, released this month, evaluates states on four metrics of child well-being. Those are: health, economic well-being, education and family & community. For […]

Missouri begins distributing summer 2022 food benefits as deadline for 2023 application looms

By: - June 15, 2023

Missouri began distributing pandemic-relief summer food benefits that were designed to cover summer 2022 just last week. Since last fall, thousands of families have been asking the state if and when they would receive the promised benefits, called summer Pandemic EBT — a federal COVID relief program administered by states.  The summer 2022 benefits were […]

Missouri eviction filing fees for landlords among lowest in nation

By: - June 14, 2023

New research shows Missouri has among the lowest court fees for landlords to file for eviction in the nation — and that raising filing fees would reduce eviction rates. In Missouri, the average cost for a landlord to file for eviction is $56, and is as low as $33 in some counties.  The fees vary […]

Missouri moves toward 50/50 child custody law, raising concerns about abuse victims

By: - June 13, 2023

Gov. Mike Parson could soon make Missouri one of the first states to establish 50/50 shared parenting time as the standard in child custody cases.  But the bill on his desk, passed in the final hour of the legislative session, did not include changes that some family law attorneys and domestic violence advocates worked on […]

Missouri nonprofit launches initiative to provide free emergency contraception by mail

By: - June 1, 2023

Anyone with a Missouri address can now request emergency contraception pills be shipped to them by mail, for free, under a pilot program launched Thursday by a health care nonprofit. Missouri Family Health Council Inc. launched the “Free EC” initiative using federal Title X funds for family planning programs. Missourians can request the pills through […]

Around 600,000 Missouri kids still waiting for summer 2022 grocery benefits

By: - May 26, 2023

Missouri families who were promised emergency pandemic grocery funds last summer are still waiting — even as another summer is beginning.  For more than six months, families have been raising alarm about the delayed benefits owed to around 600,000 kids. There is, in Missouri, no clear end in sight. Pandemic EBT is a federal program […]

Missouri agency says it’s increasingly utilizing more efficient Medicaid renewal process

By: - May 25, 2023

Missouri’s social services department is increasingly using a more-efficient method to process Medicaid renewal applications, officials said Thursday during a quarterly meeting of the health care program’s oversight board. Preliminary data shared Thursday shows the state used a streamlined renewal process which doesn’t require enrollee action in 47% of all Medicaid renewal cases it evaluated […]