HOW TO BECOME A FOSTER PARENT

A safe place to sleep is a child’s first step to health and healing. We are committed to understanding, recognizing and responding to the effects of trauma. But we need your help.

Foster parenting is a unique and rewarding opportunity to make a lasting impression on a child’s life. In Northwest Missouri, more than 3,000 children are in need of loving and supportive homes. While some states have seen a decline in the number of children in care, Missouri has been experiencing an upward trend for the past several years. Unfortunately the growth of foster homes has not kept pace with the number of children entering care.

That’s where you can help. We help potential foster parents navigate through the process and become licensed, qualified and prepared to accept foster youth and sibling groups into their home. We provide training courses and provide 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 in the state’s care.  

While some of the steps in the process may seem overly involved, please keep in mind that everyone is working toward the same goal — ensuring the safety and well-being of children in our communities.

Want to Learn More?

Join other like-minded individuals for a free information session to learn more about traditional and treatment foster care. 


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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. 

Some Things You Might Want to Consider in Making Your Decision About Becoming a Foster Parent Are ...

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

Our trauma-informed team is here to support you in all of these areas. We’re ready to help you navigate the fostering process, and provide training to set you, and the child in your care, up for success.

We are actively recruiting and licensing foster homes in 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, and Worth counties.  

We are also actively recruiting and licensing treatment foster homes in St. Louis City and Jefferson, St. Charles and St. Louis Counties counties.  

What Can I Expect?

We will provide the appropriate training needed to become a foster parent. To become licensed, you must complete The Specialized Training, Assessment, Resources & Support (STARS), which is a 27-hour course that is required by the state of Missouri. This course can take anywhere from four to nine weeks to complete. This free training consists of lectures, activities, Q&A’s, and homework assignments. During this time, most participants start to develop a support network with other participants. They rely on one another 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 a year of in-service training to enhance their knowledge and skills. We want to ensure that 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. The 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.

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 age 21 or over
  • Must be a citizen of the United States 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

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)

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.

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