Protect America’s Missing Foster Children
“Federal watchdog finds Missouri failed to adequately report, protect missing foster kids. In 2019, 978 children were missing at some point from Missouri foster care,” reads a September 2021 news story from the Missouri Independent. The terrible truth is that this headline could be for any state in the country. Twenty thousand children go missing from foster care each year. These foster children constitute a majority of sexually trafficked children in the U.S. Senator Barto of Arizona introduced common-sense model legislation to address exactly this problem. The legislation was presented to ALEC’s Health and Human Services Committee this past December by Rebecca Masterson of Gen Justice and unanimously adopted. The model legislation first requires all foster children in group homes to have a state photo ID card. If a child goes missing, the photograph can be linked to state and national databases with the click of a button. The legislation also requires timely reporting of missing foster youth to law enforcement and a requirement to keep the court cases of missing children active.