Missouri Department of Social Services | KCUR

Missouri Department of Social Services

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Thousands of kids in Missouri's foster care system are likely to benefit from a first-of-its-kind legal settlement under which state officials have agreed to strict limits on how and when kids can be given psychotropic drugs.

The settlement resolves a class action lawsuit charging that Missouri foster care officials failed to safeguard the conditions under which the powerful medications are dispensed. U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey gave preliminary approval to the agreement on Monday. 

Georgetown University Health Policy Institute Center for Children and Families

In Missouri, children’s enrollment in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program fell nearly 10% over the last 14 months – the second biggest decline of any state after Idaho, according to a new report.

The report, by Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families, says neither the strong economy nor an increased number of children with employer-sponsored health coverage is sufficient to explain the decline.

Missouri Department of Social Services Children's Division

Segment 1: Controversy in Missouri and Kansas foster care. 

The foster care systems in Missouri and Kansas have been making headlines lately. In Missouri, the prescribing and administering of psychotropic drugs is at the center of litigation that just became a class action case. In Kansas, the Adoption Protection Act allows smaller agencies to deny potential parents adoption or fostering based on the agency's religious beliefs. We got an update on what's happening on both sides of the state line. 

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A lawsuit charging Missouri officials have failed to properly oversee the administration of psychotropic medications to children in foster care was certified Thursday as a class action.

State Auditor Nicole Galloway says Missouri appears to be wasting millions of dollars through misuse of its food assistance program.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, was formerly known as the Food Stamp Program. It helps low-income Missourians get food at grocery stores by using a state-funded electronic card.

Missouri Department of Social Services screenshot

People who work with federal food-aid recipients in Missouri and recipients themselves have said the state’s hotline is slow to answer phone calls. State data shows that at times, callers have had to wait up to an hour to talk to someone and that in May 2017, almost a quarter of callers abandoned getting through.

Missouri’s Family Services Division started addressing those concerns in April and said it expects to have new software in place by July to make the call center more efficient and start the food-stamp interview process more quickly.

The Missouri Department of Social Services (DSS) has again come under the microscope of an interim legislative committee looking into whether state agencies are operating efficiently.

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.