URGENT! Please advocate for our Jackson County kids!
Under new leadership in Director Darrell Missey, a former juvenile court judge, the Children’s Division has a Plan to Rebuild & Reform the Children’s Division. The Plan is very encouraging and we are really excited about the focus on prevention, but they first have to regain their footing by recruiting and retaining caseworkers through competitive pay and additional caseworker positions. Governor Parson agrees with this Plan stating in his recent State of the State that: “We want to improve the services we provide through our agencies like Children’s Division. The Division is critical to the health and safety of some of Missouri’s most vulnerable children, yet it is critically understaffed and under-resourced. By investing $22 million dollars, we can help alleviate the strain, hire more employees, and support struggling families and children. We must do more and do better for our children, our families, and our state.”
Please advocate for our Jackson County kids by telling your Missouri representatives that you support Children’s Division and Governor Parson’s request to increase caseworker pay and positions in pending House Bills 11 and 14.
In reverse order, Missouri House Bill 14 is a supplemental appropriations package that includes an 8.7% cost of living increase for Children’s Division workers—not enough, but a much-needed increase to bring Missouri caseworkers up to at least par with our neighboring states, which we’ve historically lagged far behind ranked last in the nation for worker pay. This bill is out of the House Budget Committee and scheduled for a vote on Monday, February 13. The Governor has indicated he’d like these raises passed and implemented by March 1, so state employees can see them in their paychecks by March 31.
Missouri House Bill 11 is this coming year’s appropriations package (Fiscal Year 2024). It calls for, among other things, a $22 million investment in staff salaries and positions. This bill is currently in the House’s Subcommittee on Appropriations—Health, Mental Health, and Social Services, which will hear testimony (written or in person) on Monday, February 13, 2023, at 11:00 a.m.
So please, reach out to your representatives and ask them to support these two appropriations bills – HB11 and HB 14 – that are needed to support and serve our Jackson County kids and families. You can encourage their support in your own words or use the template email provided below.