If you have been thinking about adding a child to your home, now is a good time to consider fostering. According to state agencies, Missouri is facing a critical shortage of foster families.
Why is this issue happening and what can you do to help?
Why the shortage is happening
Between 2019 and 2021, Missouri has lost 515 resource homes for foster children. The state has lost 377 licensed relative foster homes and 100 licensed foster homes. The number of homes for children who have special needs has also declined.
A lack of resources for finding and keeping foster families in the system is partly to blame for the shortage.
What you can do to help
The foster system particularly needs families of color. It also needs families who can foster multiple children so that siblings can stay together. There are multiple types of foster homes and experts urge families interested in fostering to choose the type they can best commit to:
- Traditional care – care that lasts for an indefinite period
- Medical care – for kids who have medical conditions or disabilities
- Emergency care – short-term care that usually lasts 30 days or fewer
- Elevated-needs care – for children who have moderate to severe behavioral needs
Families interested in fostering must meet the state’s requirements and participate in 20-30 hours of pre-service training. Foster parents receive a monthly stipend to cover the cost of food, clothing and other needs.
The Missouri Department of Social Services provides extensive information about becoming a licensed foster home on its website.