Sheena Greitens

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COLUMBIA - Missouri's foster care system took center stage at a luncheon Wednesday. The Hope for the Children Luncheon was hosted by Presbyterian Children's Homes and Services of Missouri. The program, held at the First Presbyterian Church, seeks to bridge the gap for children and families in need. 

Dr. Sheena Greitens, first lady of Missouri, spoke at the event. She said the issue of adoption and the foster care system is something she knows very well. 

"It's especially meaningful for me to be here today," Dr. Greitens said. "Children hold a very special place in my heart. 

A short video was played sharing some of the stories of young people who've encountered traumatic experiences. Many of which are from the Columbia area. 

According to Presbyterian Children's Homes and Services, last year about 13,000 children were removed from their parents' care due to neglect, abandonment or abuse.

"We're thinking of all the possible ways and doing a really deep review of how we can make this the best state in the country for families who want to adopt and give a child a permanent and loving home," Dr. Greitens said.

She encouraged attendees to share what they thought while reminding them of her support for the cause. 

"I also want you to know that both the Governor and I stand ready to work alongside you and to do what we need to do to better serve our children."