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.

Bill inspired by sexual abuse allegations at Kanakuk Kamps dies in Missouri legislature

By: - May 18, 2023

A legislative push to extend the statute of limitations for survivors of childhood sexual abuse to file civil action failed this year — despite mounting evidence in Missouri and nationally that abuse can take years to come to light.  The bill, sponsored by Rep. Brian Seitz, R-Branson, would have extended the amount of time survivors […]

Gridlock plagues Missouri Senate once again with just days to go before adjournment

By: and - May 10, 2023

The Missouri Senate remained bogged down in GOP infighting Wednesday night, with conservatives for the third day in a row blocking or slowing legislative action while time ticked down towards Friday adjournment.  Leading the effort was Sen. Mike Moon, R-Ash Grove, who spent much of Wednesday blocking an uncontroversial hemp bill by reading an anti-vaccine […]

Sen. Elaine Gannon

Missouri legislature passes postpartum Medicaid extension

By: - May 5, 2023

The Missouri Senate voted Friday to extend postpartum Medicaid coverage from 60 days to one year, sending the bill to Gov. Mike Parson’s desk for his signature or veto. The Department of Social Services estimates the extension would cover more than 4,000 people who otherwise go uninsured two months after the end of pregnancy. Missouri […]

Bureaucratic hurdles stymie Missouri families seeking help affording child care

By: - May 3, 2023

CALIFORNIA, Missouri — A federal subsidy program administered by the state helps Christa Swillum cover child care for her three young children. Without the subsidy, which cuts her daycare bill in half, the single mother wouldn’t be able to afford the $1,600-a-month cost. But getting the assistance took nearly eight months, as she had to […]

Missouri’s governor made access to child care a top priority. Where do his proposals stand?

By: - May 3, 2023

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson made improving access to child care a major part of his 2023 legislative agenda, declaring during his annual State of the State address in January that “early childhood care is essential to our state’s success.” Since then, lawmakers have worked to enact his recommendations, but the proposals have faced roadblocks on […]

Missouri child care deserts include nearly half of kids 5 and under, new data shows

By: and - April 26, 2023

At five months pregnant, Kayla Marmaud started putting her name on waiting lists for child care. But when her son was born in late 2021, she still hadn’t heard from any daycares. As her maternity leave drew to a close, Marmaud found herself in waitlist limbo. Leaving the workforce was not an option financially for […]

Five things we learned about Missouri’s child care crisis

By: and - April 26, 2023

MuckRock and The Missouri Independent analyzed the supply and demand of Missouri child care programs since 2019, drawing from public records and data provided by the advocacy group Child Care Aware.  Reporters sought to find what areas of the state have the least child care availability, how availability changed during the pandemic and whether several […]

Lawmakers weigh removing abortion language from Missouri bill extending postpartum care

By: - April 5, 2023

Missouri legislators heard testimony Tuesday night urging them to remove an anti-abortion provision from a bill that seeks to extend postpartum Medicaid coverage out of concern it could put federal approval at risk. The House Committee on General Laws heard a bill passed out of the Senate in February that would extend postpartum Medicaid coverage […]

Missouri to begin Medicaid renewals, vowing as ‘seamless’ a process as possible

By: - March 29, 2023

As a pandemic policy expires and Missouri begins rechecking eligibility of around 1.6 million people on Medicaid, social services department leadership pledged Tuesday to make the process “as seamless as possible for as many people as we can.” Over the last three years, states have stopped reverifying whether Medicaid recipients on their rolls are still […]

Diversity initiatives within Missouri agencies run into GOP attack on ‘woke’ government

By: , and - March 27, 2023

High employee turnover has plagued Missouri’s Department of Social Services for years. The department’s staffing woes have contributed to a range of problems — from foster children languishing in state care for longer than they should be to disabled residents waiting months to receive federal food benefits to investigators unable to keep up with child […]

Missouri’s Department of Social Services sued for alleged Sunshine Law violations

By: - March 17, 2023

A software company that successfully sued the state and was awarded $23 million last year has filed a new lawsuit against Missouri’s Department of Social Services, alleging the agency “knowingly and purposefully” violated open records law. According to the lawsuit filed Thursday in Cole County, Florida-based HHS Technology submitted a request for records to the […]

Disability-rights advocates decry planned cuts to transit service in St. Louis County

By: - March 17, 2023

The St. Louis region’s public transit agency plans to “improve customer service” by making cuts to its paratransit system serving those with disabilities. It’s a move disability rights advocates have decried as a “cruel” solution to a real problem. Metro Transit’s paratransit system, which is called Call-A-Ride, provides services for those with disabilities in St. […]