When the state has to remove a child from a family with problems, it tries to put that child in the best place possible. The legislature is moving closer to writing that place into law with the goal being to get the child out of a bad family situation but not necessarily out of the family.
The bill writes state children’s division policy into law—that the division will make every effort to place the child with grandparents. If it is necessary to put the child into foster care, the grandparents will have the first priority.
Among those thinking this is a good idea is the Missouri Family Network’s Kerri Messer, who has told a senate committee, "It’s a wonderful thing when grandparents can handle the children." He says he worked with a family last summer whose children had been removed from a home and placed with grandparents until things calmed down with the parents. "They went back to the home and because they were with the grandparents they never knew there was a problem in the home. Best-case scenario you could possibly get," he said.
The bill requires the division to take care of any health needs the child has before making the emergency placement. The grandparent must pass a background check.
The bill has been approved by the House of Representatives. A committee is likely to recommend soon that the senate also pass the proposal.