Finding foster homes for the 13,000 Missouri children in the state’s care is a challenge, particularly for children of certain ages and with special needs, according to Missouri Children’s Division Director Tim Decker.
“It’s sometimes across all age groups and sometimes very specific to older youth or perhaps youth that have some behavioral problems or have had extensive trauma histories,” said Decker.
He said children between 12 and 18 who need foster care are tough to find homes for.
“It’s similar to the early childhood years, only it’s not so much language and motor skills,” said Decker. “It’s about thinking through your actions. It’s about relationship skills. It’s about emotional control. It’s about long term planning.”
He said finding foster homes that will take multiple siblings is also struggle.
“The research tells us that keeping siblings together is a very good thing,” said Decker.
He said placing them in the same foster home is the goal, unless it’s not in their best interest.
The number of children in the state’s foster care system has risen by 3-5% annually since 2009.
The requirements to become a foster parent include a background check, home inspection, training, health screening, and financial assessment, among other things. To adopt or become a foster parent, contact a local Children’s Division office.