The leader of Missouri’s child welfare system says he could have been in the system while growing up in Jefferson County. Missouri Children’s Division Director Darrell Missey says he had two loving parents, including a mother who wanted to be teacher but struggled with mental illness. Missey says the darkest time in his childhood was when his mom was in a mental hospital for three months.

Missey says he wants the system to be a proactive model that helps families hold it together instead of reactively breaking them apart.