Food Assistance for Missouri Children in Jeopardy

Several bills are pending in the Missouri General Assembly that, if passed, will scale back the food assistance available through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for poor children. SB 561, sponsored by Sen. David Sater (R-Cassville), is pending in the Senate, while HB 1486, sponsored by Rep. Hannah Kelly (R-Mountain Grove), is under consideration in the Missouri House.

The Missouri Department of Social Services (DSS) estimates that passage of this legislation could lead to 30,830 households (a total of 48,541 children) losing SNAP benefits for up to six months.

Backers of the legislation say they want to encourage more parents to participate in work activities in order to receive the family SNAP benefits. Yet Missouri has only 32 Job Centers to cover 114 counties, with some additional services in Kansas City and Springfield. It is very unclear whether parents, especially in rural areas, would be able to access these centers because of transportation barriers and lack of childcare options. 

The Missouri Catholic Conference (MCC) is opposing these bills while encouraging legislators to find more positive ways of encouraging work without harming poor children.