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Our Opinion: Foster care progress

Our Opinion: Foster care progress

November 14th, 2018 in Opinion

We’re pleased to see that the Show-Me State appears to be doing a good job meeting the demand for foster homes.

We reported on Monday that a Chronicle of Social Change report shows that, while the need for foster homes has increased nationwide, Missouri has met the demand through use of non-relative homes.

The report — “Who Cares: A National Count of Foster Homes and Families” — takes data from each state. It shows Missouri has increased its number of non-relative foster homes from 1,971 in 2012 to 2,781 in 2017, an increase of 41 percent.

“Missouri’s done a good job of recruiting foster parents to make sure there’s enough housing for children entering the system,” said Daniel Heimpel, publisher at CSC. “The number of relatives (providing foster homes) has gone up as well. You had growth.”

A U.S. Department of Health and Human Services division released data Friday that matches CSC findings, Heimpel said in our Monday news story.

Here in Jefferson City, the Central Missouri Foster Care and Adoption Association has worked diligently to pair foster children with families.

DeAnna Alonso, executive director of CMFCAA, said in 2016 that decreasing the number of foster children who need families means increasing the number of foster families.

“It’s important to bring attention to amount of children in foster care at this point — there’s just far too many,” she said at the time. “Most of those children are (in the system) because of the lack of the amount of homes available.”

One way she has promoted foster care is through respite care — letting certified adults take in children for a short period of time to watch over them for foster parents. It’s a way to give respite to foster parents, but also gives people a chance to see if foster parenting is right for them.

Despite the progress Missouri has made, it’s a constant struggle for CMFCAA and other such agencies to find homes for the many foster children in the system. If you’d like to learn more about becoming a foster parent, call CMFCAA at 573-298-0258.

News Tribune