Missouri’s Governor Signs New Foster Care Legislation
Missouri’s governor signs new foster care legislation into law this week. The bipartisan legislation is meant to update the system and make it more modern. There are also stipulations for Medicaid coverage to help homeless children in the state.
State Rep. Sheila Solon, R-St. Joseph says,
It’s going to help children all over the state of Missouri and especially it’s going to help foster children, who are the responsibility of all of us.
The Missouri Department of Social Services
There are currently 14,043 children in Missouri’s foster care system as of May. Solon’s bill is going to require the creation of a response team. These individuals will review the practices of the state Children’s Division and any contractors. The Children’s Division is responsible for the administration of child welfare services.
Solon indicates that the response team is essential to the bill. Solon says,
Some of the shortcomings, and not just our foster care system here in Missouri but all across the country is a lack of transparency. A lack of sharing data and the lack of sharing information when it comes to foster children.
House Bill 1414
The goal is to have the team up and running in January of 2021. Solon is focused on creating transparency within the foster care system with the child’s best interest in mind. For parents of homeless youth in Missouri, they will now have access to free birth certificates. Solon says,
Those two provisions, believe it or not, were not as difficult as the third provision. Which allows homeless youth to contract for mental health services.
The bill will give foster parents access to full medical records of their placements at time of home intake. More importantly, this helps foster parents provide better care for children with medical needs.
In conclusion, we are optimistic that this new bill will help all involved in Missouri’s foster system. Children in care need more support and channels that better enforce and monitor their care. We hope this inspires other new foster care legislation and reform in surrounding states.
For those interested in helping foster youth, check out some ways to partner with Together We Rise here.