Becoming a foster parent in Missouri allows you to open up your home to children who need comfort and stability. In order to provide this service you must go through a series of assessments and tests. These tests will determine the best matches between children and foster homes. It is important to be honest and open during the applications, tests and assessments to ensure a smooth transition into becoming a foster parent.
Contact your local Missouri Department of Social Services office and indicate your interest in becoming a foster parent. Health services will provide you with a time and location for an orientation session.
Attend the orientation to learn more information about the foster-care process and the subsequent steps. You will gain important information about the foster-care system and potential foster children. Take notes of important information and do not hesitate to ask questions if any arise.
Obtain a foster-parent-license application from the Missouri Department of Social Services if you are still interested in becoming a foster parent. Fill out the application to indicate your personal information, criminal history and income.
Indicate all income sources, as the license requires a steady income, a suitable home, lack of criminal history and good physical and mental health. There is no marriage requirement, but if you are legally separated, the separation from your spouse must be for 12 months or more. Additionally, you must be 21 years of age or older.
Attend up to 10 separate training sessions after orientation to become more acquainted with the process. These sessions will build the relationship between you and the agency. These sessions are also valuable times to ask any questions you may have or any that may come up. It will also help you to determine whether being a foster parent is something that you are suitable for.
Expect a visit and interview from a caseworker from the agency. She handles your case among others, and she will help you with filling out the proper documents and will go over them with you.
Discuss with the caseworker your reasons for wanting to become a Missouri foster parent and describe the relationship you have with your family. She will also inspect your home to determine whether it is a safe and suitable environment for foster children.
Expect the process to take a few weeks to a few months to complete. You will receive a written assessment of your background and history information along with your home inspection.
Contact other foster parents and discuss the trials of being a foster parent as you wait for approval of your application. Speak with Missouri Department of Social Services at any time during the process if you have any questions or concerns.