HOW TO BECOME A FOSTER PARENT

A Safe Place to Sleep is a Child’s First Step to Healing

In Missouri, 13,000 children are in need of loving homes. Unfortunately the number of licensed foster homes has not kept pace with the number of children entering state care.

That’s where you can help. Foster parenting is a unique and rewarding opportunity to make a lasting impression on a child’s life. We help potential foster parents navigate the process to become licensed and prepared to accept foster youth into their homes. We provide trainings and complete family assessments — known as a home study — to help ensure that we find the best fit not only for you, but for the child.  

Our Most Critical Need

Currently, our most critical need is the highest level of care — treatment foster care. Requiring both strength and patience for youth who have experienced extreme trauma, treatment foster care parents will receive an enhanced and individualized level of support from our trauma-informed team. 

Join other like-minded individuals for an informational session to learn more about traditional and/and treatment foster care. 

Regardless if you are interested in traditional or treatment foster care, our trauma-informed team is here to support you in:

  • Working with the biological family members,
  • Managing the loss of child(ren) who return home/leave your home, and
  • The impact of a child moving into or out of your home on your own children/family members.

Am I Eligible?

We are actively recruiting and licensing foster homes in the following areas:

Northwest Missouri Counties

  • Andrew
  • Atchison
  • Buchanan
  • Caldwell
  • Carroll
  • Cass
  • Chariton
  • Clay
  • Clinton
  • Cooper
  • Daviess
  • DeKalb
  • Gentry
  • Grundy
  • Harrison
  • Holt
  • Jackson
  • Johnson
  • Lafayette
  • Linn
  • Livingston
  • Mercer
  • Nodaway
  • Pettis
  • Platte
  • Putnam
  • Ray
  • Saline
  • Sullivan
  • Worth  

St. Louis Metro Area

  • St. Louis City
  • Jefferson County
  • St. Charles County
  • St. Louis County 

Our most successful foster parents are open-minded, dependable, patient and willing to try different parenting styles for children with different needs. Other requirements and characteristics are:

  • May be single or married.
  • Must be 21 or older.
  • Must be a United States citizen or be able to verify lawful immigration status.
  • May be from a variety of economic, ethnic and educational backgrounds.
  • Must be in general overall good physical and emotional health.
  • Must complete a criminal/protective services background check.
  • Must have a sense of humor.
  • Must have adequate income to meet family’s needs with additional children placed.
  • Must have adequate space for additional children placed (home ownership is not required).
  • Must have the ability to love and let go.
  • Must be willing to support reunification efforts.
  • Must be able to work as a member of a team.
  • Must demonstrate an ability to protect and nurture children, meet developmental needs and address developmental delays, connect children to safe, nurturing relationships intended to last a lifetime, and work as members of a professional team.

What to Expect

We provide the training needed to become a licensed foster parent, including the Specialized Training, Assessment, Resources & Support (STARS), which is a 27-hour course that is required by the state of Missouri. This free course, which can take anywhere from 4-9 weeks to complete, consists of lectures, activities, Q&As and homework assignments. During this time, most participants begin to develop a support network with other participants whom they rely on to be there for them throughout their foster/adoptive experience.

In addition to STARS training, foster parents are required to take an additional 15 hours of in-service training a year to enhance their knowledge and skills to ensure you feel well prepared to accept one of our children into your home.

Be prepared. On the path to becoming a foster/adoptive parent, you encounter a mountain of paperwork. Items you need to compile include:
  • Physicals on all family members
  • Birth certificates
  • Marriage licenses
  • Divorce decrees
  • Auto insurance policies
  • Pet vaccinations
  • School references
  • Employer references
  • Income tax filings

And that’s just a sampling. It’s kind of daunting, we know, but if you focus on one item at a time, the paperwork becomes more manageable. Your family development specialist will provide assistance to ensure everything is submitted in a timely manner.

There is not a set timeline from start to finish when applying to become a foster parent. It typically takes 4 - 6 months from the first call to be fully licensed and ready for placement, however there are many variables that can shorten or lengthen this time frame. We need potential foster parents to be prepared and committed to providing completed paperwork in a timely manner.

We get asked a lot of questions during the foster parent process. Take a look at our FAQs page to see if we’ve answered your questions or call us at 855-778-5437.

Take the Next Step