Gov. Jay Nixon today signed three bills to support foster care parents and children, and to help support agencies that provide residential care and treatment for Missouri youth. The Governor signed House Bills 1172, 1576 and 1577 while at Epworth Children and Family Services in Webster Groves, where he was joined by leaders from Epworth, from Missouri Baptist Children's Home, and from other foster care and youth care agencies.
House Bill 1576 allows certain specialized state-licensed foster care parents to purchase the same state health insurance as state employees.
"Foster parents throughout Missouri have opened their homes and hearts to children in need," Gov. Nixon said. "Some foster parents have received additional training and a specialized license to care for children with special needs. For these foster parents, caring for these children is literally a full-time job. That's why we want them to have the opportunity to purchase the same health care plan as state employees."
House Bill 1577 provides criteria for school districts to help foster care children succeed academically.
"When a young person comes into, or moves within, foster care and transfers schools, we want to make sure their hard work and good grades don't go away," Gov. Nixon said. "The legislation I'm signing today ensures that when young people in foster care transfer schools, their credits transfer, their coursework is honored, and they graduate on time."
Gov. Nixon also signed House Bill 1172 today, which extends and expands a program allowing tax credits for residential treatment agencies, such as Missouri Baptist Children's Home, and also establishes a tax credit program for donations to developmental disability care providers.
"Organizations like the Missouri Baptist Children's Home and Epworth provide loving, comprehensive care for young people in need, and I am delighted we can continue and expand this important program to engender more support from donors," Gov. Nixon said.
All three bills will go into effect August 28, 2012.