Child advocate responds as report issued on nearly 1,000 foster care kids missing in Missouri

Published: Oct. 7, 2021 at 6:00 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 7, 2021 at 6:13 PM CDT
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OSAGE BEACH, Mo. (KY3) - A case study put out by the U.S. Inspector General’s Office shows nearly 1,000 Missouri foster kids went missing from the system in 2019.

The inspectors say some foster kids are at a higher risk of going missing than others. They say the state rarely made an attempt to reduce the risk of kids going missing.

The Missouri House of Representatives Children and Family committee held a hearing on Tuesday.

“The report about 2019 that came out doesn’t have anything that surprises most of us, other than maybe the scope and the volume. The stories that I am telling you that are 15 years old. They are very much reflected in this report that just came out,” said Kelly Shultz, Director of Child Advocate.

Shultz says the department has already started working on improvements. She says sex trafficking plays a big role in this.

”We just don’t need to add any more trauma to their lives. So hopefully, focusing on this effort in providing some solutions will change the outcomes moving forward,” said Deanna Alonso, CEO of Central Missouri Foster Care & Adoption Association.

Alonzo says there have been discussions on what can be done to fix the problem.

”You know, there’s a mechanism by which they can determine which kiddos are missing, and which ones are in a place that not might not be in foster care,” said Alonzo.

One of the solutions Deanna testified about was using Missouri Chip.

”Missouri chip really provides a dental impression, a DNA swab. Now they’ve reverted instead of a disk to a USB with all the information on it a profile sheet that includes a picture of the child and fingerprints. So you’re talking about a comprehensive packet,” said Alonzo.

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