The Children's Services Coalition is comprised of nonprofit agencies that all have a successful history of serving the needs of children and families in the Greater St. Louis area. In the CSC, members work together to promote the delivery of high-quality social and behavioral healthcare services for Missouri's children and their families through advocacy, collaboration, and communication. CSC members work collaboratively toward the following purposes:
• Providing a unified voice regarding services, funding and advocacy for Missouri's children and their families;
• Acting as a forum for identifying needs and gaps in the continuum of care for Missouri's children and their families;
• Serving as a vehicle for discussion and sharing of knowledge, services and best practices;
• Encouraging program and funding collaborations and referrals; and
• Mobilizing grassroots support as appropriate.
In 2007, a small group of non-profit agencies working together as the Family Mental Health Collaborative formed an advocacy task force to address the unmet behavioral health needs of St. Louis County's children. The task force, which started with five agencies, grew to 42 agencies and formed a coalition called Putting Kids First (PKF). From this coalition came a successful grassroots effort to put Proposition 1 on the St. Louis County ballot in November 2008. In advance of the election, Putting Kids First commissioned and distributed a "Report to St. Louis County Citizens" that assessed the need for children's services in the County; projected the cost for providing services and evaluated the potential impact on the community. The report revealed that over 120,000 county youth lacked appropriate mental health services. Proposition 1 passed by a wide margin, which resulted in the formation of the St. Louis County Children's Services Fund. In August of 2010, the St. Louis County Children's Services Fund distributed approximately $35 million to 44 agencies providing mental health and substance abuse services to the County's children and youth.
The collaborative experience did not end with the successful passage of Proposition 1. The Putting Kids First member agencies decided to continue working together as a membership organization and created the Children's Services Coalition (CSC) in July 2009. The CSC members meet monthly for the purpose of promoting the delivery of quality social and behavioral healthcare services for children and their families living in St. Louis County through advocacy, collaboration and communication. The original CSC officers serving through June 2011 were Lesley Levin, Chair (President and CEO, Behavioral Health Response); Paulette Foerster, Vice Chair (Vice President of Program Services, Lutheran Family and Children's Services of Missouri); Judy Berkowitz, Treasurer (Executive Director, Kids In The Middleš); and Kathleen O'Brien, Secretary (Vice President Strategic Planning & Leadership Development, Great Circle). In June 2011 the Coalition elected a new Chair and Vice Chair. Pat Holterman-Hommes, Chair (Chief Programs Officer, Youth In Need); Greg Echele, Vice Chair (Chief Executive Officer, Family Resource Center). Judy Berkowitz and Kathleen O'Brien continued in their positions as Treasurer and Secretary.