A bill aimed at reforming the state’s troubled Division of Family Services has been given tentative approval by the Missouri House. The focus on DFS has been intense ever since the death of young Dominic James while in was in custody of state-approved foster parents. The bill’s sponsor, House Speaker Catherine Hanaway, calls it a tough bill and she says it pains her to think of what parents must go through when their children are seized from them. An amendment added to the bill during House debate exposes DFS workers to criminal liability in cases where a child dies. The bill calls for the state to experiment with privatization of some DFS functions. The House rejected an amendment that would have restricted the experiment to only agencies licensed by the state. It needs another favorable vote to move to the Senate.
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