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Proposed reform for the Division of Children and Families.

February 17, 2004
By: Paul C. Matadeen
State Capital Bureau

After a veto by the governor last year, a House committee hears a bill about foster care reform that has been a year in the making.

Paul Matadeen tells about the lengthy legislation.

Story:pcm0201
RunTime: APPROX :40
OutCue: SOC

The bill, sponsored by the House speaker, requires costly changes in child abuse and neglect reports to make them more complete.

There will also be updates for court proceedings and background checks just to name a few.

Represenataive Brian Stevenson, the bill cosponsor AND family lawyer says the legislation was a group effort.

Actuality:
RunTime: :08
OutCue: "...OTHER LEGISLATORS."
Contents: "THE BILL IS A CULMINATION OF BOTH CONSTITUENT INFLUENCE AND ALSO PERSONAL EXPERIENCE OF NOT JUST MYSELF BUT MANY OF THE OTHER LEGISLATORS."

Stevenson says the reform will cost taxpayers 8-million dollars.

From the state capitol, this is, Paul Matadeen.

-=UPDATE 2=-

A House committee is reviewing a bill designed to revamp the state's foster care system. It is similar to one the governor vetoed last year.

Paul Matadeen tells us why this reform is personal to many of the law makers who support it.

Story:pcmk/p0202
RunTime:
OutCue: SOC

Joplin Representative Bryan Stevenson says the foster care reform he is cosponsoring was a year in the making, and well-needed.

Stevenson is a family lawyer. He says the need for change is obvious.

Actuality:stevenson3.wav
RunTime: :09
OutCue: "...FISCAL NOTE."
Contents: "WHEN YOU HAVE YOUNG PEOPLE DYING BECAUSE THEY'RE NOT RECIEVING THE PROPER CARE, I THINK IT IS VITAL. I THINK ITS EASILY WORTH THE 8-MILLION DOLLAR FISCAL NOTE."

Among the list of changes to the current system, the bill would require the division to notify parents when their child is placed in foster care.

The only exception would be if their knowing would cause harm or imminent danger.

From the state capitol, this is Paul Matadeen.

-=UPDATE 3=-

House Speaker Catherine Hanaway has sponsored another bill to change the foster care system because Governor holden vetoed a similar one last year.

Paul Matadeen tells us why some are saying the changes are overdue.

Story:pcmk/p0203
RunTime: APPROX :40
OutCue: SOC

The legeslation would require changes in the way the Division of Children and Family handles child abuse and neglect reports; foster care and placement of children, and the related court proceedings.

Representative Bryan Stevenson the Bill's co-sponsor AND a family lawyer says there are serious flaws in the system.

Actuality: stevenson1.wav
RunTime: :13
OutCue: "...CONCRETE GUIDELINES."
Contents: "YOUNG PEOPLE COME INTO THE SYSTEM AND SOMETIMES THEY ARE IN THE SYSTEM AND SOMETIMES THEY ARE IN THE SYSTEM FOR MONTHS OR EVEN YEARS WITHOUT MUCH PROGRESS ON THEIR CASE. WITH THESE IMPLEMENTATIONS WE WILL HAVE MORE CONCRETE GUIDELINES."

The bill has over 20 sponsors that say they support Speaker Hanaway, partly because she has adopted a son of her own.

Representative Stevenson estimates the bill will cost taxpayers about 8-million dollars.

From the state capitol, this is Paul Matadeen.