Jefferson City, Mo. – A panel studying Missouri's foster care system says the state should focus more on placing children with relatives to reduce the trauma of being taken from home.
The Commission on Children's Justice Monday issued tentative recommendations. Group members say there's research that shows children are safer and more likely to stay within the family if they are placed with relatives.
State law requires families be given preference in foster care cases, but only 24% percent of placements occur that way.
The commission was formed in response to the death last August of a two-year-old Springfield boy whose foster father is now charged in his death. The panel has been gathering information from other states and child advocacy groups.
It plans to release a final report in June.