JEFFERSON CITY, Missouri- Governor Eric Greitens announced today that birth certificates for foster children will now be provided free of charge. Normally they are $15 per copy.

“Imagine you’re a sixteen-year-old in Missouri. Like most sixteen-year-olds, you want to get a job and learn to drive. You want to be more independent and self-sufficient. Pretty simple, right?

Except if you’re a teenager in foster care. To get a driver’s license or to fill out employment paperwork, you need a birth certificate. You probably don’t have your birth certificate. No one in your life knows where it is. You could request it, but the state—your legal parent—will make you pay for it. And that’s tough because you may not have the cash. You may not even have your own bank account.

Before today, this was how the state of Missouri dealt with young people in the foster care system. We made foster kids pay the state for their birth certificates.

Sheena Greitens recently met with a group of current and former foster youth to hear their thoughts. These kids told Sheena, over and over again, that not having a birth certificate made it difficult for them to get a license, learn to drive, and get a job. Sheena took that message to the team.

Today we’re making a change so that foster youth in Missouri will no longer have to pay the state to get a birth certificate. They’ll get a copy provided to them at no charge. This is a small fix for the government. It’ll make a good difference in some kids’ lives.

Foster kids don’t have teams of lobbyists. They don’t know insiders or the special interests. And in the past, that meant that they were—like too many Missourians—forgotten.

Until now. We’re standing up for them. This is who we were sent here to fight for: the vulnerable, the forgotten, the people who get a raw deal while the powerful get their way. That’s what we were sent here to do, and I’m proud that everyone on the team is keeping their promise to fight for you.”