Boys and girls in foster care will no longer have to pay to get a copy of their birth certificate from the state. That announcement comes from Gov. Eric Greitens, and takes effect immediately.
A thin piece of paper that most people tuck in a safe or hide in a lockbox, carries a much heavier weight for those with little to their name.
"Some people don't know who they actually were before they were adopted out," said Alyssa Hathcock, former foster child.
Without knowing their own initials, they certainly wouldn't know their family's, until now.
"If it's on your birth certificate, you could probably go seek and find your parents if you wanted to," Hathcock said.
She aged out of the system just before age 18. Since then, she's found help through Danielle Conti with Foster Adopt Connect.
"Foster kids are in the care of state, and so the state really is that parent. What would it be if every kid who needed a birth certificate had to go to their parents and they said, 'hey you have to give me $15 or $25,'" Conti said.
$15 dollars is what Hathcock paid the state of Missouri for a copy.
"I didn't have one for the longest time because my mom had it," she said.
Other than being able to see who she is in writing, it lets others see the same, which is a prerequisite when applying for a job or a roof over your head. Jeremiah Moorhead with Rare Breed Youth Outreach Center knows what it looks like when kids finally get that piece of paper.
"A number of times, I've heard people look at a birth certificate or look at an ID in their hands and say, 'it's like I'm a real person now,' because for a long time they were made to feel like they weren't, because they couldn't get much done in life without those items," he said.
Right now, Rare Breed helps cover the cost of birth certificates for foster kids and other homeless youth. It says it probably spends close to $1,000 a year on those documents. Now, those funds will be freed up to be used elsewhere.