Missouri lawmakers are working to reduce the number of children who are placed into foster care.

Rep. Hannah Kelly, R-Mountain Grove, chairs the Missouri Children and Families Committee. She explains why it’s so important lawmakers and the state Children’s Division work together to address the fact that Missouri has nearly 13,000 children in foster care.

“Communication takes care of a lot of problems with anything in life,” Kelly said. “Here, more than ever, if we have the departments working hand-in-hand, if everybody is communicating at the table, that is there at the table and concerned for that child’s safety and welfare, we’re always going to get the best and biggest outcomes for the child.”

One potential solution to placing a child in foster care is a program known as “Temporary Alternative Placement Agreements,” which is a voluntary agreement between parents, the Missouri Children’s Division and a willing and able relative or family friend to provide temporary out of home placement for the child if the parent is unable to, due to a safety concern.

“These kids, we’re supposed to be watching out for them,” Kelly told Missourinet. “We are putting our foot in the door of their life and saying that we want to help make sure that they are safe and well and whole and ready for a bright future. I think it’s important, if we’re doing that, as a state government, that we make sure that we know what’s going on with them.”

Temporary Alternative Placement Agreements was part of a bill that became law a few years ago.

Copyright 2023, Missourinet.