Lack of Foster Care Parents in Missouri
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Lack of Foster Care Parents in Missouri

Date: December 17, 2010
By: Amanda Macias
State Capitol Bureau

Nationally, up to fifty percent of foster care parents leave the system each year. And throughout Missouri their is a shortage of foster care parents and a lack of homes for at least a hundred and twenty five children in Cole County. Amanda Macias has more from Jefferson City.
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Wrap: There is approximately forty foster care homes in Cole County and they are all at capacity.

Bridget Mack from Central Missouri Foster Care and Adoption Association says..

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Description: "It's been six years or so that I've been apart of this system and working with this system and we've always had a lack of need for foster homes."

Especially for older children..

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Description: "When it comes to teenagers we just do not have foster homes that are willing to take them in."

Out of the 125 children in the foster care system in Cole County the majority of them are age 12 and older.


Gloria Hochman from the National Adoption Center says that nationally this is a common trend..

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Description: "Because people are waiting in line to adopt infants. But as children get older it is more difficult to find families that are willing to take them on a permanent basis. So sometimes they just remain in foster care."

And with a lack of foster care parents children are placed throughout the state and siblings are typically split up.

Hochman says that siblings should not be separated because..

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Description: "That relationship is very primal and very important. And sometimes particularly if kids are in foster care and especially if they move from one foster home to another. The relationship with their sibling is the most binding one that they have."

And in Missouri the foster care and adoption system aims at keeping siblings together

says Department of Social Services spokesman Scott Rowson.

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Description: "That's really at the top of the heap in terms of priorities is placing children with their siblings in a placement whether that be with a family member or with an outside foster home."

Hochman says that there are more than 500,000 children in foster care in the U.S.

And serious psychological and emotional experiences can result from long-term stay in this system.

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Description: "They can feel rejected and they often do. They can feel worthless. They feel as though their parents couldn't take care of them there must be something terribly wrong with them. It effects their ability to focus and concentrate. It effects their school performance and the longer they stay in foster care without any permanence and moving from place to place then the stronger those feelings of rejection are going to become.

The goal of foster care is to provide a safe and loving home for a child

Until they can be reunited with their birth parents..

And the process of becoming a foster parent is outlined on several state websites with informational phone numbers listed.

Rowson said the process involves some screening but overall the system moves rapidly and support is abundant

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Description: "You know we're if they are able to maintain a safe and loving home environment then we would definitely consider them. There is a process, there is a screening process of course to maintain the safety of our kids. You know, beyond that there is no kinda family setup or anything that is mandatory. It's really you got to be 21 years old or older and that's about it."

Rowson also said that Missouri is making a more aggressive effort to provide counseling to families

In order to decrease the amount of children who are entering foster care.

The reimbursement rates for foster parents in Missouri are among the lowest.

Less than fifty percent of the total costs of raising a child are covered.

From the state Capitol, I'm Amanda Macias