Foster Care | St. Louis Public Radio

Foster Care

Gov. Eric Greitens signs the Foster Care Bill of Rights into law. (June 22, 2017)
Marshall Griffin|St. Louis Public Radio

Gov. Eric Greitens on Thursday signed into law a bill designed to improve the safety and quality of life of children in Missouri's foster care system.

 

At the heart of the measure is the Foster Care Bill of Rights, which begins by stating the “best interests of the child shall be the first priority of the children’s division” of the Department of Social Services.

Kids sitting on the floor in a classroom
Phil Roeder | Flickr

Two national child advocacy organizations have filed a federal lawsuit against the Missouri Department of Social Services, alleging that children in the state’s foster care system are over-prescribed psychotropic medications with little oversight.

“They’re prescribed off-label, to control behaviors,” said Bill Grimm, an attorney for the National Center for Youth Law, which filed the lawsuit on Monday. “While many other states have instituted some sort of oversight … Missouri has very little to none of those safeguards in place.”

The suit seeks class action status. State officials declined comment, citing pending litigation.

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Children leaving the foster care system after their 18th birthday would be able to return to state custody under a bill passed by the Missouri Senate.
 
Current law allows children to remain in the foster care system until they are 21, but prevents re-entry if they leave after turning 18.
 
The measure sponsored by Democratic Senate Minority Leader Jolie Justus of Kansas City would allow those who leave the system to re-enter until they turn 21.
 
 Justus says it allows children to come back home if they have a hard time in the "real world."
 

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Catholic Charities says it's withdrawing from a legal battle over Illinois' civil unions law and no longer is providing state-funded services.

The move ends the group's long history in Illinois of providing foster care and adoptions.

Diocese officials in Joliet, Springfield and Belleville say Monday's decision was reached with reluctance. The Catholic Diocese of Peoria withdrew last month.

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Catholic Charities is delaying its plan to ask a judge to reconsider or stay his ruling that Illinois officials may cut off the nonprofit's state contracts for adoptions and foster care placements.

A hearing had been scheduled Friday in Springfield on Catholic Charities' quest to have a Sangamon County judge rethink or hold off enforcing his recent ruling that favored the state.

(via Flickr/steakpinball)

An attorney for Catholic Charities says the not-for-profit agency will appeal a judge's ruling that the state of Illinois can stop working with the group on adoptions and foster-care placements.

(via Flickr/steakpinball)

A central Illinois judge has ruled that Catholic Charities does not have a right to state contracts for adoptions and foster care placements and Illinois officials may cut them off.

The state Department of Children and Family Services ended $30 million in contracts with Catholic Charities in July because the not-for-profit won't work with unmarried couples in placing children in adoptive and foster homes. Illinois authorities say that violates the state's civil union law.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: In St. Louis, 913 children who lack a permanent place to call home depend on the city's foster care system. Of those roughly 900 children, 815, or 89 percent, are African American.

The metropolitan area has a total of 1,800 children in foster care, and 1,400 of these children are African American.