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House, Senate to square off on softball field

Charity game to benefit foster care efforts by Jonathan Jain, [email protected] | June 18, 2021 at 4:05 a.m. | Updated June 18, 2021 at 11:04 a.m.

The Missouri House and Senate will face off in a charity softball game at 4 p.m. Saturday at the Mizzou Softball Stadium.

Legislators are raising money for the Central Missouri Foster Care and Adoption Association.

There are 19,000 children in foster care across the state and 1,400 children waiting for adoption in central Missouri. CMFCAA advocates for these children by partnering with community and governmental agencies to develop healthy families.

DeAnna Alonso, CMFCAA president and CEO, said the softball game will provide funds to fight abuse and neglect of children in the community while developing relationships with legislators.

Several pieces of child welfare legislation became law during the previous session, including provisions that authorized tax deductions for foster parents and tax credits for adoption-related expenses.

"They've been huge supporters for kids this year, and we couldn't be prouder," Alonso said.

Alonso said it is helpful to talk with legislators about the needs of the children so they understand the extent of the services CMFCAA provides. Alonso noted 267 children age out of the foster care system every year, which she finds concerning.

"In a year's time, they can become homeless or incarcerated - sometimes even dead - because of substance use disorders," Alonso said. "We're trying to do our very best in keeping that from happening and smashing the stats."

The money will go toward the CMFCAA family resource centers in Columbia, Rolla, Osage Beach and its Jefferson City headquarters. Alonso said the funds will support the mission and longevity of these centers, which provide resources for 13 counties in central Missouri.

In their previous matchup in the annual legislative softball tournament, Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz's team defeated House Speaker Rob Vescovo's team on its way to winning the entire tournament. That tournament in April raised more than $11,000 for the Samaritan Center in Jefferson City.

This time, state Rep. Travis Fitzwater was entrusted with the roster-making duties. Fitzwater said the House team's roster isn't finished, but it will have a combination of players who have played in the annual softball game in the past. Despite their oss in April, Fitzwater remains optimistic about Saturday's matchup.

"The House team is confident because we have a loaded roster," he said.

Fitzwater said University of Missouri President Mun Choi suggested the rematch to raise money for a good cause, connect legislators outside of the session in a bipartisan fashion and have fun.

MU spokesman Christian Basi said the opportunity for the rematch arose from the legislators' enjoyment of the previous game.

"At the same time, it was an opportunity to continue raising money for good causes throughout Missouri," Basi said.

Basi said MU's partnership with the Legislature is indicative of the continuance of a strong relationship.

That relationship was made evident by the passage of one of the university's top priorities during the 2021 legislative session: Removing limits on tuition increases.

Basi praised the legislators' work during the previous session and said the softball game will help foster relationships between people working toward the common goal of improving the university.

"When the university is stronger, the end result is our future is brighter," Basi said, saying the university educates thousands of Missourians every year who will become future leaders of the state and nation.

Donations to CMFCAA for the softball game can be made at mofosteradopt.com/softball.

Print Headline: House, Senate to square off on softball field

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