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Improving Missouri’s Child Welfare Services

Rep. Sue Allen
Rep. Sue Allen
As part of his fiscal year 2015 budget proposal, Governor Jay Nixon is seeking a $6 million increase for the Department of Social Service’s (DSS) Children’s Division.

With this request for resources and with the Children’s Division under the leadership of Tim Decker, the new division director, I am hopeful and expecting to see evidence of positive changes for our state’s children in foster care.

The department should be held responsible for explaining where this money will come from and what the funding is meant to accomplish. If the funds are appropriated, DSS will need to prove to the legislature and the people of Missouri that it has put the money to good use.

Throughout the summer and fall, the Interim Committee on Improving Government Responsiveness and Efficiency heard testimony on several unfortunate incidents where children were harmed after their families were investigated by the Children’s Division.

Lucas Webb, a four year old from Holt, Missouri, died of blunt force trauma to his abdomen in 2012 only five days after Children’s Division workers declared him safe in his home, and a grandfather spoke to the committee about his struggle to have his grandchildren removed from an unsafe home.

The Children’s Division is responsible for protecting some of Missouri’s most vulnerable children, those in foster care or being removed from their homes, and must be held responsible for effectively implementing the procedures needed to keep them safe.

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