Missouri is one of nine states to show a decline in the number of children in poverty. The National Center for Children in Poverty says 21% of Missouri’s children were living in poverty in 1993. In 1998, the last year in which figures have been analyzed, that was down to 15.6%. Division of Family Services director Denise Cross says another indicator of improved opportunities for the children and their families is a 50% drop in the state’s public assistance caseload since 1993.