A House-Senate committee on child neglect and abuse will hold its first hearing on Monday.
Representative Bill Lant (R-Joplin) sponsored the legislation that created the Joint Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect when it was passed as part of another bill. He will be the vice-chairman of the Committee, under Senator Kurt Schaefer. Lant says he’s excited to get to work.
“The statistics that were brought to my attention over a year ago are that one in four children in the state of Missouri are either physically or sexually abused before they’re fourteen years old, and I find that to be totally unacceptable. We can do much better than that.”
Lant wants to see the committee begin its work by looking at the system for reporting child abuse and neglect.
“Take a look at the reporting system, see if it’s doing what it’s designed to do and if it’s doing it in the best way possible. If so, move on to the next problem and if not, take steps to improve it.”
Lant says he has received literally hundreds of phone calls about the committee from interested parties all over the state.
“It’s not any one particular thing that people are concerned about. It’s just the entire system. That’s what I felt when I first started investigating a little bit … that we really needed to look at the whole system and figure out what was the best thing to do and what was the best time to do it. So I’m really anxious to see us get started on that process.”
The committee’s Chairman is Senator Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia).