JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Cutbacks made during the height of the pandemic are being felt by families and children’s advocates across Missouri. Lawmakers say it was a problem they’ve been fearing for months.
In the Summer of 2020, dozens of workers with the Division of Social Services were laid off. These employees worked to help abused and neglected kids.
Since then, the state has been contracting with private agencies to provide services. Some of those companies are subcontracting the work out. Families say the quality of care is lacking.
The State of Missouri laid off 500 employees after state spending was restricted because of COVID related shortfalls in revenue.
100 of those employees, mostly middle management, were in the children’s divisions.
A state oversight committee met to talk about the challenges on Wednesday, April 14 and heard from families who say they are feeling the impact of the changes.
Several employees of the children’s division also testified about how the cutbacks are causing a strain on their caseloads. Lawmakers have questioned why the department was hit so hard by the cutbacks, especially at a time the need for family services has been increased.