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New Missouri House Committee Will Look At Department Of Social Services

Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones, a Republican from Eureka, has created another interim committee, this time to examine how well state agencies respond to citizens who use their services.

The Interim Committee on Improving Government Responsiveness and Efficiency's first priority will be looking into the Department of Social Services.  The committee will be chaired by State Representative Sue Allen, a Republican from Town and County.  Allen also chairs the subcommittee that writes the budgets for DSS and for the departments of Health and Senior Services and Mental Health. 

Allen says Social Services officials need to do a better job of overseeing the state's welfare program.

"Millions of dollars we've had disallowed from the federal government," Allen said, "based on the lack of hard information to substantiate eligibility of the kiddos and/or their family situations."

Allen says they'll also investigate why Social Services was slow to release information on child abuse cases.

"There'll be issues related to (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families), which is welfare, and the lack of accountability and the poor way in which Social Services runs the program," Allen said.

The interim committee will also make recommendations for new legislation for next year's regular session.  Allen estimated that their first meeting will likely take place in August.

Department of Social Services officials so far have not responded to our request for a comment.

Marshall Griffin is the Statehouse reporter for St. Louis Public Radio.
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