Report Outlines Recommendations to Prevent Missouri Children from Succumbing to Fentanyl-Related Deaths

Missouri DSS



Report Outlines Recommendations to Prevent Missouri Children from Succumbing to Fentanyl-Related Deaths

JEFFERSON CITY, MO – Today, the Missouri Department of Social Services (DSS) published a report from the Fentanyl Case Review Subcommittee in response to the alarming trends outlined in the Child Fatality Review Program 2022 Annual Report. DSS Director Robert Knodell called for the establishment of the Subcommittee to review these cases and provide recommendations.

The Fentanyl Case Review Subcommittee’s recommendations are geared toward improving and enhancing the services that multidisciplinary teams provide to families during some of their most challenging times. Recommendations include improving safety protocols within the Children’s Division, creating a cohesive Behavioral Health system, utilizing substance use treatment programs, accessibility to drug testing, and providing in depth training and education to multi-disciplinary team members along with Missouri families.

“We’ve got to work together to turn these disturbing trends around, and we hope the recommendations in this report can lay the groundwork needed to protect this vulnerable population,” said Frank Tennant, State Technical Assistance Team Director.

Over the course of three months, the Fentanyl Case Review Subcommittee has met weekly to take a deep dive into each of these cases to develop cohesive and thoughtful recommendations that the entire child welfare system can implement to cultivate improved practices that foster safe and nurturing environments for every child in Missouri.

The Subcommittee is comprised of specialists from the Missouri Department of Social Services Director’s Office, Children's Division, and State Technical Assistance Team, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, Missouri Department of Mental Health, child advocacy groups, healthcare providers, law enforcement, and courts personnel.

“I cannot thank the members of the Subcommittee enough for their time and dedication to this crucial topic”, said DSS Director Robert Knodell, “If we can prevent this tragedy happening to another child by implementing their recommendations, I will consider their time to this committee a success.”

Among their recommendations the Subcommittee proposed the creation of an interdisciplinary committee to reconvene periodically for ongoing oversight of implementation.

The Department of Social Services strongly encourages anyone who suspects child abuse or neglect to call the toll-free hotline at 1-800-392-3738. The Missouri Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline is answered 24-hours a day, every day, all year round. Together, we are all responsible for the safety and well-being of Missouri's most vulnerable population.