JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri Governor Eric Greitens is looking to provide some aid in the mission to protect children across the state.
The Republican governor on Thursday announced the appointments of 27 individuals to serve on a number of boards, including the Child Abuse and Neglect Review Boards, Children’s Trust Fund Board, and Missouri State Foster Care and Adoption Board.
“If you’re a kid under Missouri’s protection, you should be protected,” Greitens said in a statement. “If you’re a child who’s been abused, you should know that you’re safe and that your abusers have been brought to justice. If you’re in foster care, you should know that good people are watching out for you. These children are our responsibility. And we need to take that work seriously and do it well.
“That hasn’t always been the case. There are boards in Missouri that help children who have been abused and help foster kids. In the past, spots on these boards have gone vacant. Terms have expired. And no one has been appointed to replace them.”
Earlier this year, the Governor signed an executive order creating a task force to look at the state’s boards and commissions in order to see how they might be consolidated or cut to decrease spending. According to the Governor’s Office, many of the boards and commissions held several vacant positions or had members serving on expired terms.
As of January 2017, all 14 members of the Missouri State Foster Care and Adoption Board were serving on expired terms. Four of the six Child Abuse and Neglect Review Boards couldn’t hear cases because they lacked the required number of members to meet. Almost 50 out of 54 appointments to the Child Abuse and Neglect Review Board were on vacant or expired terms.
“So today, we’re doing something about it. We’re appointing 27 members to three boards so they can get to work. Twenty-seven volunteers signed up for the Children’s Trust Fund Board, the Missouri State Foster Care and Adoption Board, and the Child Abuse and Neglect Review Boards. We’re proud of them, and we’re excited for them to get to work,” Greitens said. “We told you we were going to get things done. We told you we were going to fight for the most vulnerable people in our state. And that’s exactly what we’re doing.”
“We have been working since the start of the year to recruit some of the best people in the state to join these boards, so that they can advocate for and protect our children. We are excited that so many people around the state have stepped up for our kids and are grateful that so many are volunteering their time to strengthen Missouri’s child welfare system,” First Lady Sheena Greitens said. “We look forward to working alongside these boards and commissions to protect and support our children.”
Those appointees are as follows:
To the Child Abuse Neglect and Review Board – William Atherton, Adrienne Atzemis, Nancy Birch, Wes Blair, Barbara Brown-Johnson, Kristen Buckley, Terra Frazier, Ashley Hayden, Jack Jensen, Matt Kliethermes, Jamie Kondis, Brenda Maly, DiAnne Mueller, Ryan Munro, Bill Prince, and Grant Rummerfield
To the Children’s Trust Fund Board – James Anderst, Amy Beechner-McCarthy, Melissa Birdsell, Monica Davis, Sharon Faulkner, John Heskett, and Michael Howard
To the Missouri State Foster Care and Adoption Board – Thomas Frawley, Emily Hymer, Robin Vannoy, and Sarah White
Benjamin Peters is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine, and also produces the #MoLeg Podcast. He joined the Missouri Times in 2016 after working as a sports editor and TV news producer in mid-Missouri. Benjamin is a graduate of Missouri State University in Springfield. To contact Benjamin, email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @BenjaminDPeters.