Missouri Children's Division gets accreditation

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Missouri officials that handle child abuse and foster care have received national accreditation.

The Social Services Department spent five years and nearly $20 million to get its Children's Division accredited.

Lawmakers ordered the agency to get national accreditation after 2-year-old Dominic James of Springfield died three months after state caseworkers removed him from his parents' home. His foster parent was sentenced to 15 years in prison for assault and abuse that resulted in the child's death.

The boy's death also prompted the division to be reorganized and several officials to resign.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the Missouri officials planned to announce the accreditation on Thursday. Missouri is only one of six states to have the entire Children's Division accredited.