This week I will be in Jefferson City on Thursday for a roundtable discussion of termination of parental rights and a few other children's issues. Representative David Wood of Versailles has some constituent issues that he feels warrant bringing in Division of Children's service staff and also some judges. We hope to be able to brainstorm with the participants and find some solutions. A large percentage of complaints about the Division are found to be unwarranted, but there are enough irregularities to justify a meeting to explore the possibilities of making some changes. No matter what kind of job you have, changes are usually unwelcome. Sometimes local practices become normal operating procedure and many times they are not found in the statutes. Policies become "law" in some areas and these things are generally where most of the complaints are registered.
In December we will present our sub committee report to the Joint Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect. At this time any recommendations for changes in statute will be considered. If there are concerns, then legislation will be drafted and the bill process will begin in January. Although we gathered a large volume of information this past year, I don't anticipate any major changes. The main thing I think we need to focus on is some type of universal guidelines for the entire state. It seems as if there are no two counties that have the same guidelines and procedures. Of course, there has to be some lee way for people to make judgment calls when it is necessary to make an on the spot decision, but currently there are vast differences in application of the same laws.
On the 29th of September at the Pineville Community Center from 1:00 to 4:00 P.M., there will be a Stewards of Children & Mandated Reporter Training hosted by myself, The Missouri Prevention Partners, and The Alliance for Southwest Missouri. This seminar will teach how to prevent child abuse and create a safer community for children. It will include information on the types of situations in which child sexual abuse may occur, simple strategies to protect children from sexual abuse, the importance of talking about prevention, and the signs of abuse so that you may intervene and be able to act responsibly. In addition, Missouri's Mandated Reporter laws have been changed and there will be training to cover the updates on responding to suspicions, disclosure or discovery of abuse. Our meeting will be the first one in the state and I'm anxious to hear the information. You can register at: http://missourikidsfirst.org/?p=8647 .
At the Coalition meeting on Thursday we learned that Crowder is the only college in the state to increase enrollment over last year. Our new Jane campus has 185 students currently and has already graduated 50 much-needed nurses! Now that's something to be proud of!
"Point of View" is sponsoring a Frisbee Golf Tournament on September 20 at the Southwest City Frisbee Golf Course. They are raising money for an activity center and tornado shelter. For more info contact KayCee at 417-214-5963. Sounds like fun and they are serving Chili!
This week is the run up to veto session plus our round table discussion with Children's Service so there should be plenty to report next time. Until then, I am and remain in your service.