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Putting Kids First begins process of helping at risk youth

School children on Capitol Boulevard
School children cross a street

Boone County's Putting Kids First initiative is beginning to take shape. 

Boone County voters approved a quarter of a percent tax increase that puts money into a fund to help local at risk kids connect with after school or mental health programs.

Voters first approved the program in late 2012, but officials say they're getting close the point where they can start investing tax dollars back into their programs. The program will have an estimated $6.5 million annually at its disposal. Director of Boone County Community Services Kelly Wallis wants to make sure the impact of the program reaches to all corners of Boone County

"We've heard over and over that transportation is an issue in receiving services, so one thing that we really want to encourage is that there's outreach to the rural communities and not expecting those children and families to have to come to Columbia to get services," she said

Officials will decide how to allocate the funds starting July 10th which is the due date for all proposals to be submitted. The goal is to have a decision on those proposals by the end of the summer.

Wallis said she hopes to work with other similar programs to help as many at risk kids as possible

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