Vandalia Leader

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Missouri, Audrain County area in need of foster care help

Posted on Wednesday, March 21, 2012 at 9:55 am

General Manager/Editor Ron Schott

As most of the local sports coaches will tell you, I’m a big fan of statistics.
I have an ability to take pictures and keep complete statistics on any sporting event I attend almost simultaneously.
That’s why when I recently learned about some statistics regarding the foster care system, I felt compelled to share them with my readers as many likely didn’t know just how much need was out there.
According to the Missouri Department of Social Services, there were 10,174 children in the custody of the Children’s Division as of December 31, 2010. Of that total, 3,427 youth were reportedly placed in the foster care system to live in the homes of a relative or other kinship providers.
Unfortunately, there are just a total of 2,795 licensed foster homes in the state along with the 2,004 relative homes.
This leaves a major need for the other 5,000 plus children.
Narrowing down statistics, it gets even more unsettling.
Currently, I’ve learned there is just one foster care family in all of Vandalia and no more than five families either licensed or working on getting their license in all of Audrain County.
When DSS recently put together a four week Saturday training course for families in March, just eight families enrolled in the class in Jefferson City that covers the entire central Missouri region.
It is likely the need for foster care families has increased since 2010 and I think many Vandalia area residents may want to consider opening their homes to a child who is likely going through a tough time and just needs someone to help them through it.
DSS workers are up front with those interested in becoming foster care providers in that the goal of the foster care parent is to meet the needs a child who likely has underwent a life changing experience involving their parents or guardians.
Unlike adoption, the goal here is to help the child on a temporary basis as his/her parent(s) work out some issues to be ready to have their child come back to live with them at some point.
Many of our readers may never have considered foster care as a consideration for their family.
The need is there and there are statistics to back this up. Question is whose willing to answer the bell?
For more information on how to become a foster parent, those interested can contact the local area representative Melissa Maxwell at 573-564-2258, ext. 242. Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.