Mo. stops releasing records in child tragedies

Mar 18, 2013

A joint newspaper investigation shows the Missouri Department of Social Services' practice of releasing information after the deaths or near deaths of children has come to an abrupt, unexplained halt.

After high-profile tragedies a decade ago, the state system charged with protecting children began releasing records previously closed to the public.

But the Springfield News-Leader and The Kansas City Star reported that the openness ended in June after a 10-year-old girl was freed from a Kansas City closet weighing 32 pounds.

Department officials declined to talk about the case. But court records show the girl was hospitalized as a 4-year-old because she already was underweight. Soon after the mother regained custody, the girl dropped out of sight.

DSS said in a statement that it upholds its "mission to protect children."