BRIDGETON – It was a largely positive meeting, but trustees for Missouri Baptist Children’s Home remain uncertain about how changing labor law will affect their ministry and the lives of Missouri’s most vulnerable foster children.
The discussion happened at the Oct. 11 board meeting at the MBCH campus in Bridgeton.
A rule from the Obama administration’s Department of Labor goes into effect Dec. 1 which will raise the salary threshold determining which employees must be paid overtime when they work more than 40 hours a week. Currently, many of MBCH Children and Family Ministries caseworkers would fall under that category.
A variety of lawyers disagree on the extent of the effects the new law will have on the entity’s workers, but MBCH President Russell Martin said it will mean certain workers will no longer be able to attend football games, go to birthday parties, or go shopping with clients and their families, something he said makes all the difference in this type of ministry.
“My concern – and this is shared by the other Baptist children’s homes around the country – is that services are going to suffer,” Martin said. “The extras we do that make difference in a family’s life we will no long be able to afford. ”
In the third quarter of 2016, MBCH’s Children and Family Ministries helped facilitate 87 “permanencies,” including 40 reunifications, 17 guardianships, 8 adoptions through relatives and 22 foster adoptions.
Trustees approved a $3.142 million budget for the umbrella corporation in 2017, which is in line with this year’s budget.