the movie: Sound of freedom
I saw the movie Sound of Freedom this morning in Jefferson City. It's playing only for a few days, so I hope you'll find a showing in your area and go watch. It's worth a drive even if it's not playing in your town.
If you haven't heard about it, it's a movie that documents Tim Ballard's experience working as a federal agent catching pedophiles and then rescuing children from trafficking.
I knew it would be heavy. It was.
The little boy in the movie had dark skin, hair and eyes like my youngest son. Grant (my baby) is 12 now, but when he was younger he looked a lot like Miguel in the movie. I found myself thinking about my own boys throughout the movie. I'm sure you'll do the same and connect your own kids or grandkids to the story.
Human trafficking is a horrendous reality for millions of children as well as adults. And although the movie focused on children from far away lands, please make no mistake that it is happening more than we can fathom right here on our own soil. Right here in Missouri.
missouri foster care IS LOSING OUR KIDS!
When you walk into the movie with an awareness that the Missouri foster care system is LOSING kids and NO. ONE. is screaming about it, you leave with a heaviness that isn't easy to explain.
Yes. You read that right. Missouri is losing kids!
Kids in our foster are system are going missing at a rate that is so alarming it makes my stomach turn. ANY rate would be too many. But according to The Missouri Independent, a federal watchdog reported 1,780 kids went MISSING from Missouri's foster care system within TWO AND A HALF YEARS!!
How in the world does any one system lose nearly 2,000 children!?
And if they were missing, WHY IN THE WORLD wasn't someone screaming about it!? That's part of what makes me furious. Why isn't it in the news? Why aren't we hearing Amber Alerts, seeing social media posts or news casts about these kids?? And where are the PARENTS?!
I mean.. I know there are parental issues if they are in the custody of the State, but I can't imagine 1,780 Missouri moms just don't care about their kid gone MISSING.
Losing kids is bad enough, but this article published September 30, 2021, states they "...frequently failed to notify local and federal authorities they were missing."
ARE. YOU. KIDDING. ME!? Kids go missing and you don't report it!? This is Missouri's reality.
These bureaucrats, abusive foster parents & neglectful administrators of group homes need to be prosecuted!
"During the times in which the children were missing from care, Missouri frequently failed to comply with requirements that could have aided in locating them. Nearly half of the case files contained no evidence of Missouri reporting the children as missing, as required, to either local law enforcement or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Additionally, for many missing children, there was no evidence that Missouri made the required notifications and contacts to seek information on the children’s potential whereabouts.?
Foster care isn't the only place kids are vulnerable to trafficking and I'm not claiming any one person or organization related to our foster care system is responsible or trafficking each one of these 1780 children. But this is a HUGE problem and I can't un-know it.
I got involved in politics in Missouri because I was worried about the future for my sons. I can't know these things about kids right here in Missouri and do nothing. I just cannot look the other way.
2023 Foster Care Legislation
Along with a brilliant friend of mine, I have reviewed every bill the legislature passed this session except the budget bills. I was surprised to find that the Missouri General Assembly actually passed legislation regarding missing foster kids.
SB 186 is an omnibus public safety bill and includes specific procedures that the children's division is supposed to follow when a child in foster care is missing. A couple screenshots are below, but the bill is too large to include all the foster care language here. If you are interested to read it, please click the link to the left to see the final version of the bill. You can click "Control + F" and type "foster" in the search box. It will take you to each place where foster care is mentioned.
This bill has been delivered to the governor but it has not been signed. I expect it will be, although I'm not pleased with everything in this piece of legislation. I'll be talking more about this bill in the future.
That said, the fact they passed this language for missing foster kids is an admission that they NEED it to be in place for the protection of our kids. They don't pass legislation for no reason.
The movie was well worth seeing, but I had two frustrations with it today.
1. I wish they'd made the focus of the movie American children. That wouldn't have been Tim Ballard's story, I understand. But the movie did not show even one American child being trafficked. I think it would make an even bigger impact on our culture if it had.
2. What now? They told a horrific story and highlighted this epidemic in our culture, and they didn't give any suggestions of actions you could take to make a difference. Education without activation is a waste.
This topic is one I've felt passionate about for a while, but honestly I haven't taken the time to dig in and find a way to be involved. A simple online search led me to lots of information and lists of ways to help fight trafficking. I'm going to share a few links with you here.
I'm praying about what, exactly, the Lord may want for me to do in this fight, specifically here in Missouri. I'll definitely be sharing when He gives me clarity.
At the very least, I'll be writing and sharing more here as I learn. So stay tuned & be sure to subscribe if you don't want to miss anything.
Deliver Fund is a non-profit org made up of former vets, law enforcement officers, Navy SEALS, CIA, FBI & NSA who are now working to fight human trafficking in the United States.