MO Governor apologizes for foster care budget cuts, vows to fix it

FREDERICKTOWN, MO (KFVS) – Original Post

Missouri Governor Eric Greitens issued an apology to foster families across the state about funding cuts.

Several foster parents in southeast Missouri reached out to Heartland News about a letter they received from the state’s Department of Social Services. The letter said that they would be getting a 1.5 percent cut to their foster care maintenance funding.

“I was like, wow, huh, isn’t that interesting,” said foster parent Nicole Knobeloch.

The cuts were part of state-wide budget cuts by Greitens.

On Thursday, July 20, Governor Greitens wrote this post on his Facebook page:

Eric Greitens

The buck stops here. Too often in government and politics, when a mistake happens, people play games and make excuses. That’s not how I operated in the military, running a business, or running The Mission Continues. And that’s not how we’re going to run government.

I wrote a letter to every foster family in the state letting them know a mistake was made and we’re going to fix it. That letter is below.

***

Dear …,

The buck stops with me. A mistake was made, and we’re going to fix it.

Last week, you got a note from the Department of Social Services about a 1.5 percent reduction in funding to foster families. This was never our intention.

Our foster children are—in law and in spirit—Missouri’s children. Missouri should not take money from them and their families, not even in these tough budget times.

If you have a foster child, you could have seen a decrease of between $1 and almost $6 a week. That’s wrong, and we are going to fix it.

I support you. The First Lady supports you. Our team supports you.

My team went to work and found the money to make this right. I wanted you to hear this directly from me. When something goes wrong, we take responsibility and we fix it.

We will make this right, and we will keep fighting for you. Thank you.

Yours in service,

Governor Eric Greitens

Channa Massey and Nicole Knobeloch said they are worried this could become a trend.

“That’s what all foster parents, kinship placements, that’s what we’re afraid of – what’s going to decrease next?” Massey said.

According to Children’s Division, between 2015 and 2016 Madison County saw an increase of reported incidents by almost 15 percent.

“We figured it at a few dollars per month per child, and that doesn’t seem like a whole lot, but like I said before – what’s next? We already don’t receive enough to cover their basic needs,” Massey said.

In the past year, the women said they got a 3 percent increase to maintenance funding.

The money that goes to supplement out of pocket expenses, like food, gas, and household bills.

Governor Greitens is supporting foster children through legislation.

In June, he signed into law a Foster Care Bill of Rights, giving children more of a voice in their own cases.

It’s something the women appreciate but want to make sure he knows while it’s just money, it’s money the kids need.

“I know funding is hard, and you’ve got to take it from somewhere. The kids shouldn’t have to stand out because they don’t have parents. That’s not their fault,” Knobloch said.

“Don’t take it from our children. They should be getting more. They deserve more,” Massey said.

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