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.

Mike Parson speaks to the General Assembly

Missouri lawmakers vow to expand child care access. Governor’s speech may lay out the plan

By: - January 18, 2023

A major area of bipartisan agreement among Missouri lawmakers this year is improving access to affordable child care.  And on Wednesday afternoon, Gov. Mike Parson is expected to lay out his vision for addressing what some legislators have framed as a child care crisis in Missouri.  Missouri House Minority Leader Crystal Quade, D-Springfield, told reporters […]

Advocates, providers scramble as Missouri’s new homelessness law goes into effect

By: - January 17, 2023

Audra Youmans says most people living on the streets of St. Louis have nowhere else to go. As a volunteer and advocate with St. Louis Winter Outreach, she made over 40 calls to the city’s referral service for homeless shelters last year — recording and compiling a video to demonstrate the problem.  “Every single time […]

Agape Boarding School will close its doors this month after years of abuse allegations

By: - January 11, 2023

Agape Boarding School, the Stockton-based Christian residential facility under scrutiny for alleged abuse of its students over decades, announced it will shut down Jan. 20. According to a statement provided to The Independent Wednesday afternoon by John Schultz, an attorney for Agape, the school has “made the decision to stop providing services to the boys […]

Some Missourians could lose Medicaid coverage as eligibility renewals restart April 1

By: - January 4, 2023

Missouri’s social services department will resume conducting Medicaid eligibility renewals on April 1 — allowing the state to once again remove people from its rolls after a three-year pause during the COVID-19 state of emergency. Since March 2020, states have been barred from removing enrollees from Medicaid during the federally-declared public health emergency in exchange […]

‘Emotional roller coaster’: Delays in effort to shut down Agape dishearten former students

By: - December 28, 2022

When he read the news back in September that Missouri had moved to shut down Agape Boarding School, Allen Knoll felt a sense of vindication.  ”For me personally,” he said, “but also for current victims.”  It was over a year and a half after Knoll had traveled to Missouri from Washington state to testify in […]

Federal spending bill ensures one year continuous coverage for Missouri kids in Medicaid, CHIP

By: - December 23, 2022

Missouri will be required to provide year-long, continuous coverage for anyone under age 19 enrolled in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program, as part of a $1.7 trillion spending package approved by Congress Friday.  In a move advocates have long pushed for as a way to avoid unnecessarily forcing children off the rolls, all […]

A stone government building on a cold, grey day

Judge grants injunction keeping longtime Agape director off Missouri child abuse registry

By: and - December 21, 2022

Agape Boarding School’s longtime director once again won a court order Wednesday keeping his name off Missouri’s central registry for child abuse and neglect.  Cole County Circuit Court Judge Brian Stumpe granted Bryan Clemensen’s request for a preliminary injunction against Missouri’s Department of Social Services on Wednesday morning, the second time Clemensen has won a […]

Three members of the Missouri Housing Development Commission, all white men in suits, are showing discussing a policy issue during the Sept. 1, 2021, commission meeting.

Missouri awards over $40 million in low-income housing tax credits

By: - December 15, 2022

The Missouri Housing Development Commission has approved over $40 million worth of federal and state tax credits to help developers build 1,791 low-income housing units around the state.  In a meeting last week, the commission agreed to issue half the credits on an accelerated basis — the second year they’ve adopted the approach, which proponents […]

Longtime Agape director testifies in Missouri court to stay off child abuse registry

By: - December 13, 2022

The former director of Agape Boarding School pleaded with a Cole County judge on Monday to keep himself off the state’s central registry of child abuse and neglect so he can keep working with children. Bryan Clemensen was the long-time director of the Stockton-based reform school for troubled boys until last month, he testified Monday.  […]

Missouri has roughly $150 million left to distribute in federal housing assistance

By: - December 9, 2022

The Missouri Housing development Commission has delivered $445 million of the roughly $593 million total, MHDC Director Kip Stetzler said Friday. 

End of public health emergency could cause spike in uninsured Missouri children

By: - December 7, 2022

Researchers warn the end of the federal public health emergency, which will likely occur next year and require states to redetermine eligibility for all Medicaid recipients, will put children at risk of inappropriately losing healthcare coverage.

Summer food benefits for low-income Missouri children likely delayed until well into winter

By: - December 5, 2022

Because of a series of delays, the benefits designed to help families with summer food costs likely won’t be distributed until deep into winter.