Become a Licensed Foster Parent
Every child deserves to be loved and healthy, and the best place to heal from abuse and neglect is in the care of a loving family. Foster parents uniquely contribute to the success of a child’s life by providing temporary, loving, and stable care while working towards the child’s reunification with biological family or forever family.
Foster Care Basics
Missouri Foster Parent Requirements
FosterAdopt Connect helps you navigate the steps to becoming and staying a foster parent with the support of a resource development advocate (licensing worker) and training. Requirements to become a foster parent include:
- Be at least 21 years of age
- No criminal or child abuse/neglect history
- Adequate income or employment
- Sufficient room in your home to accommodate additional children
- Complete the 30 hours of initial training
- Participate in an in-depth home study
- Provide personal, employer, and medical references
- Complete a financial verification form
- Acquire needed safety items for the home, such as smoke alarms, fire extinguisher, and beds.
- To maintain licensure, foster parents must complete 30 hours of ongoing training every two years and other minimal requirements that will be detailed by your resource development advocate.
Frequently Asked Questions
What types of children are in State care?
Are there different levels of foster care?
There are various levels of foster care need which may require less or more training. All are valuable and we encourage you to find the best fit for your family.
- Respite — Temporary, short-term care that gives other foster parents a break from foster-care responsibilities.
- Traditional — Care for a child in state custody for an indefinite period of time.
- Emergency — A 30-day maximum placement that provides caseworkers an opportunity to identify a long-term home.
- Medical — Care for children who require extra support because of disabilities or medical needs.
- Elevated-needs (levels A and B) — Care for children with moderate to severe behavioral/emotional needs.
- Treatment (or Career) — Care for children with severe behavioral/emotional needs.
How long will a foster child be in my home?
There is no set length for a foster placement. It depends on the circumstances of the child and his/her birth family. When a child is placed in your home, there may be an estimated length of time the child is expected to stay.
What is the process for placing a child in my home?
Many children enter state custody on a daily basis and need quick placement in a home. Child placing agencies begin looking for placements immediately.
- The child’s placing agency searches a database for available foster families.
- If you match some basic criteria needed for the child, the agency will call you.
- After careful consideration, you decide whether to accept the child into your home.
- If you accept, the caseworker calls you to set up a meeting location.
- You inform your resource development advocate of the change.
- If you say ‘no’, the child’s placing agency simply calls the next person on the list.
Do I have a say as to which child is placed in my home?
Yes. Foster parents specify the race, age, gender, and number of children they wish to care for. You have the right to ask questions about the child’s history and the option to decline any placement.
How many children can I foster at once?
You can have no more than five children in your home, consisting of any combination of biological and foster/adoptive children. For example, if a family has 3 biological children, they can only be licensed for 2 children.
Where will the child go to school or day care?
Children attend the local school in your community and this must be discussed with the child’s caseworker. If the child is not school age, working foster and adoptive parents may choose a daycare home or facility for the child as long as it’s state licensed and contracted. The state may also reimburse for before and after school care until the child is 13.
What types of support services are provided after a child is placed in the home?
When a child is placed in your home as a foster placement, you will receive a monthly stipend and bi-annual clothing allowance. The reimbursement rate depends upon the child’s age, level of care required, and placing agency. Medical and dental insurance is provided by the state. If counseling or therapy services are needed, the state may also provide for those services. FosterAdopt Connect also provides online and in-person support groups, advocacy, training, clothing closet, food pantry, and more to all foster families in Missouri and Kansas.
Do I have to own my home?
Foster parents may own, rent, or be in the process of buying a home, condo, or apartment. Families who rent must have their landlord’s permission to become foster parents. Your local municipality may also require an occupancy permit.
Do I have to be married?
You can be single, married, divorced, or legally separated. If, at some point, you choose to begin a relationship, you must inform your resource development advocate. For the safety of the children, a criminal check and an abuse and neglect background check is required on everyone in close contact with your foster children.
Can I become a foster parent if I’m LGBTQ?
Yes. Per Missouri Children’s Division policy, “a license will be issued to either married couples or a single individual. Only one license can be issued per household, so the license will be in one adult’s name. All adults in the household who will have child care responsibility will be required to attend state approved foster parent training.
What’s the difference between foster care and adoption?
Foster care is a temporary arrangement until a child can either be reunified with their birth family or placed with a permanent caregiver if reunification is not possible. Adoption is making a lifelong commitment to a child.
How long does it take to become a foster or adoptive parent?
It takes four to six months to become a licensed parent, but having a license does not guarantee an immediate placement. Well-trained, competent families are needed, so there is an in-depth training and home-study process to complete.
What does it cost to foster or adopt?
There is no fee associated with becoming licensed to foster or adopt. You will have to purchase items such as a fire extinguisher and pay for your medical exam which are necessary to become licensed. Foster parents receive a monthly payment to help cover the cost of the child’s food, clothing and personal allowance. The first check will not come until a month or so after the child does, so foster parents’ need enough money in the budget to support their family and the new child/children until the reimbursement arrives.