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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Governor Parson deemed May Foster Care Month in Missouri.

Over 14,000 children and teenagers are in Missouri’s foster care system, according to the Missouri Department of Social Services, meaning there is a high need for foster parents in Missouri communities.

“Foster parents provide the security, safety, and stability that children entering care so desperately need,” said Robert Knodell, Department of Social Services Director. “We are thankful to Governor Parson for recognizing May as Foster Care Month as we celebrate Missouri’s foster, relative, and kinship parents and thank them for their significant contributions. We also extend our gratitude to the entire child welfare team who continue to work tirelessly to make sure Missouri’s most vulnerable children are safe, protected, and given the tools they need to heal.”

The Missouri Department of Social Services says that when a community has more foster families, a child is more likely to remain close to the life, community, school, friends, and people they know and be matched with a family that can best serve the child’s needs.

  • To become a foster parent, you must:
  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Complete a child abuse/neglect check and criminal record check including fingerprints
  • Be in good health, both physically and mentally
  • Have a stable income
  • Be willing to participate in and complete a free training and assessment process
  • Be willing to voice perspectives and concerns as part of a professional team
  • Be willing to partner with the child’s family

There are many ways to help foster families in your community, including:

  • Hold a luggage or backpack drive
  • Tutor or mentor youth
  • Provide respite care
  • Offer special help around the holidays
  • Make a monetary donation for things foster children or families may need, like:
    • New glasses, new shoes or clothes for school, school pictures, haircuts, hair and/or nail services for prom, yearbook, class ring, graduation cap and gown, prom dress or tuxedo rental, sports equipment or uniforms, or extracurricular or summer activities
  • Become a volunteer and donate your professional services to youth in foster care (ex. photographers, hair stylists, etc.)

To learn about more about foster care or ways to help area kids and families, visit the DSS website