Improvements for foster care system discussed by committee

Posted on 8 November 2019 at 6:14pm
Story image: Improvements for foster care system discussed by committee

JEFFERSON CITY - In Missouri, there is a shortage of foster care parents. The number of children in the foster care system outnumber the parents willing and able to take care of them.

The Joint Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect was led by Representative Hannah Kelley, who is a foster parent. 

The overall goal of the committee is to understand what is happening in the foster care system and to give more attention to the areas of the system that need to be improved.

"Here we are almost three years later and I've had- I've lost count really of the kids that have came through my home and needed a safe place to stay," Kelly said. "And if you say 'Hannah what drives you?' out of all those kids, one has went home to their mom and I want to change that."

The hearing discussed different areas of improving the system such as improving mental health resources for those in the system.

There are currently 12,742 children in Missouri's foster care system and that does not include diversions, children who stay with a relative. According to Kelly, the rough estimate of diversions ranges from five to six thousand children. The official number of diversions are still being investigated.

"These are Missouri's children. We have to do right by them," Kelly said. "We have to make sure we are setting them up for success and not failure."