A Lake area state representative has filed a bill aimed at protecting abused and neglected children.
State Rep. Diane Franklin (R-Camdenton) announced January 4 that she had filed legislation that would allow the Children’s Division of the Department of Social Services to keep additional records for extended periods of time.
“I think we have to give the Department of Social Services Children’s Division every tool possible when it comes to identifying those who neglect or abuse children in our state, hopefully HB 1610 will help with this problem,” said Franklin in a press release.
HB 1610 would allow all information related to possible abuse, even if there was not enough evidence available to bring charges someone.
The legislation would add more weight to related successful legislation filed by Franklin last year.
The 2017 law allowed the Children’s Division to keep records for extended periods of time when they identify a possible abuser, even without enough evidence to bring charges.
The idea behind the new law is that if the records are kept on hand, and there are reoccurring incidents involving the same suspect, it can be identified and eventually charges can be brought against that person if enough evidence is compiled.
The new bill would allow all information to be retained in these types of cases, not just pertaining to a possible suspect, allowing investigators to use past information for future cases when the neglect or abuse of a child is reported.
“Sometimes there are common threads between old cases and new ones that will allow investigators to connect the dots and identify who the abuser is. This information is protected and will only be used in a situation where the health and wellbeing of a child is at risk,” said Franklin.
HB 1610 is now awaiting assignment to the Committee on Children and Families which Franklin chairs.