We’re excited to welcome Mary Chant as our guest speaker for our October Friday Forum: Missouri’s Foster Care System. Mary is the CEO of Missouri Coalition for Children, a statewide association of child and family serving organizations dedicated to strengthening and supporting Missouri’s children, families and communities.  Mary started her career working with Missouri runaway and homeless youth, moving to Idaho in the 1990s to focus on economic security and asset development for low-income communities. As director of Community Action Partnership Association of Idaho, she worked with state and national economic security organizations to develop and implement policies that helped people reach economic security and build assets. 

In 2012 she returned to Missouri, becoming CEO of Missouri Coalition for Children.  As MCC CEO, Mary works with partners at all levels to develop policy and practice that support child and family well-being, and healthy communities.  

Mary is the grateful mother of two daughters, ages 14 and 18. She holds a Master of Public Affairs, and has served on several community and statewide non-profit boards focusing on education, economic security and equity.  Mary is a long-time student of traditional Okinawan martial arts and teaches a small karate class in Columbia, Missouri.

About the Friday Forum

Nearly 14,000 Missouri children were in the custody of the Missouri Children’s Division in 2022, with a variety of health and mental health needs. The goal of the foster system is to provide safe and caring temporary homes for children while their family works towards their goals and reunification. Years of budget cuts have resulted in a shortage of residential care providers, massive caseloads and high turnover at the Division of Social Services, leaving Missouri’s foster care system in crisis. In this session, we will learn about evidence-based and family-centered policy changes that would help ensure children have the opportunity to be safe, healthy and happy.

Empower Missouri’s Friday Forums are our monthly online educational offerings for Missourians to build knowledge on poverty-related policy issues and skill in legislative and grassroots advocacy. Register for this session below, or visit our Friday Forums page for more information on other upcoming sessions and recordings of all of our prior sessions.

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