On Wednesday, April 15th, the state of Missouri is holding a hearing on HB 557. This legislation helps stop and prevent child abuse in important ways including:
- Registering programs and removing exemptions for boarding schools and programs;
- Ensuring state authorities know of children being placed in the state of Missouri;
- Ensuring state authorities have access to investigate and check on their welfare;
- Providing state authorities with the ability to help children via CPS and emergency services;
- Making a three strikes/out rule for abusive programs;
- Deterring abusive programs from relocating to Missouri;
- Requiring background checks for all employees and volunteers;
- Requiring programs to comply with provisions protecting the health and safety of residents;
- Ensuring that state authorities can immediately investigate abuse allegations and intervene appropriately.
It’s important to note that many independent fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) affiliated “boarding schools” such as Circle of Hope, Agape, Master’s Ranch, etc., claim that food deprivation, isolation, restraints and paddling are part of their religious beliefs. These bills outline how the Department of Social Services can petition the court to investigate child abuse.
Shoutout to TROUBLED podcast, #exposingcircleofhope, #exposingagape, #sparetherod, and all the survivor communities who made this hearing happen.