In this extensive three-day series, Jeff Lehr of the Joplin Globe examined the Missouri Division of Family Services, and found a system riddled with problems -- from mothers fighting to get their children back after baseless accusations to children being removed from their parents only to be placed in dangerous and abusive foster care where they were injured or killed. The Globe found that Jasper County had one of the highest rates of removal of children from their homes by the state than any other county in Missouri, while at the same time it was more difficult for parents to reunite with their children. Innocent parents caught in the gears of DFS could spend years trying to clear their names and regain custody of their children. The series takes a hard look at DFS, the courts, and those who are supposedly responsible for removing children from the home. Statistics and tables, as well as the personal stories of people affected, potential reforms to Missouri's laws, and the problem of a "revolving door" of underpaid, under-trained social workers are discussed in detail.
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