My Message to Governor Parson Regarding Cuts to Social Services

We are living in an unprecedented time, unlike any other most of us have seen in our lives. It is no surprise that because of the COVID19 pandemic, unemployment is up and tax revenue is down. To sustain a governmental budget, cuts have to be made. However, one might question the focus of these cuts.

Yesterday, the Kansas City Star reported that here in the state of Missouri, in addition to significant cuts to the educational system, Governor Mike Parson issued cuts that eliminated approximately 500 state jobs. Two hundred of those are unfilled, and of the remaining 300, 200 are from the Department of Social Services, and almost half of those are from Children’s Division.

As a foster parent in the state of Missouri, I must say this is tragic and needs to be reconsidered.

People already talk about the broken system. In our three years of foster care, we have had the pleasure of working with many good people within that system. Yet, these same men and women are already underfunded and overworked. Those two realities, in addition to frequent bureaucratic changes, are a large part of why the system is “broken.”

In the elimination of the Children’s Division jobs, no “front line workers” were cut. This is good. However, when you remove supervisors and the support systems around these front line workers, it causes a greater caseload to fall somewhere–either the workers themselves become more burdened, the remaining supervisors become more burdened, or both.

And what will be the result? Fewer children in need receive the adequate attention, care, and safety they need and deserve.

Already, children who enter the foster care system do so through no fault of their own. They have suffered trauma and harm through no fault of their own. When a broken system gets further broke, it will be these children who are the ones that will suffer.

Our present reality means difficult decisions. Yet, as a society, we should be able to make these decisions in such a way that the least of these among us are the ones least impacted by our difficult decisions.

Therefore, I am asking: If you live in the state of Missouri, please contact the office of Governor Mike Parson and other elected officials and request that they reconsider the focus of these cuts. With a few clicks, you can readily find contact information or contact forms here: https://www.mo.gov/government/elected-officials/

Below, I have copied the message that I sent to Governor Parson. I also sent a similar message to our Lt. Governor, State Senator, and State Representative asking them to urge Governor Parson to reconsider his cuts.

Dear Governor Parson,

I write to you in response to the news that significant cuts are being made to the Department of Social Services and Children’s Division. I am a person who cares about pro-life causes as well as being a foster parent.

In our three years of fostering, my wife and I have seen first hand the fine work of the employees of Children’s Division. We have also experienced the realities of an already over-burdened system.

I understand with the COVID crisis these are trying times and cuts are necessary. However, there are surely better solutions than focusing such drastic cuts on the support system for children in need.

The health, safety, and well-being of children is not simply a political issue but a moral issue, a pro-life issue. Many believe that as schools reopen, coming out of the pandemic, the case load of Children’s Division will increase. These are children who deserve safety and love. Such budget cuts, instead, threaten to leave them in danger.

Therefore, I urge you to reconsider the drastic cuts to Social Services and Children’s Division, and consider ways to more evenly spread the necessary cuts.

Thank you.

Image source: Photo by Michał Parzuchowski on Unsplash

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