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Policy update:

CTF is pleased to highlight the passage of Missouri H.B. 557 and H.B. 432, both endorsed by CTF and signed by Governor Parson on July 14, 2021. Here are a few key provisions pertaining to CTF’s mission:

H.B. 557 – This bill includes the “Residential Care Facility Notification Act,” which immediately brings greater accountability to facilities caring for children who are exempt from state licensure, such as religious youth homes and private boarding schools.

This act requires that these entities to notify the state that they exist and are operating as residential care facilities and to subsequently comply with DSS safety rules for residential care facilities. The bill also:

      • Sets specific guidelines for meeting the basic needs of children in these facilities’ care
      • Mandates specific routine safety and health inspections, as well as employee background screenings through DSS
      • Creates provisions for legally removing children from and closing down non-compliant facilities, reducing the risk for cycles of abuse or neglect
      • Outlines procedures for ensuring swift child safety in instances where abuse or neglect may have been reported

Missouri has notably lagged the nation in implementing these needed protective and preventative measures for children living in unlicensed facilities. However, despite being long overdue, H.B. 557 will create positive and lasting change – most notably keeping more Missouri children safe from abuse and neglect.

CTF is very grateful for all the work that went into passing HB 557, including the dozens of survivors who told their stories; Kelly Schultz, the Director of the Office of Child Advocate; Rep. Rudy Veit and Rep. Keri Ingle; and Jessica Seitz, Executive Director of Missouri KidsFirst.

Full bill details:

H.B. 432This bill puts into place a “Birth Match” process where the State Registrar and Children’s Division share information to identify children born in high risk situations, including children born to parents who have previously had a termination of parental rights (TPR) or other serious criminal offense against a child.

Birth Match is used in only a handful of states across the nation and was recommended by the US Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse Fatalities in 2016.

The bill also requires Children’s Division or other contracted entities to offer voluntary supportive services.

CTF is hopeful this bill will save lives of vulnerable infants, as it has in other states.

Full bill details: