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Missouri Foster Care System

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After reading the article on the Missouri foster care system, I felt the need to respond. My husband and I are foster parents in Northern Missouri and have been for two years. The unforgivable incident that killed poor Dominic is a tragedy that has laid heavily upon us.

To begin, our heart goes out to his biological mother and family. I know nothing anyone says can replace their beautiful baby, but we want everyone to know that what occurred in Green County does not reflect upon all of the Division of Family Service areas in the state.

John Dilley has left a mark on all foster parents in Missouri and the entire Division of Family Services - a mark that will not be forgotten by anyone. A mark that will haunt us for years to come, as many families consider becoming foster parents, and while many children search for a forever home.

I agree with the report that says that some changes need to occur in the foster care system. This needs to be done, not only in Missouri, but also throughout the United States. I feel a unified Division of Family Services through the United States would be more beneficial. With all states having the same licensure requirements, an equal foster parenting payment scale, and disbursement for children clothing and supplies, it would be easier to regulate the system throughout the United States.

With the growing number of children in the foster care system, there are overloaded caseworkers, but what about the lack of quality foster homes and foster parents? Missouri has one of the lowest reimbursements for foster parents and their children. Since when does $150.00 - $200.00 buy all the clothes a growing child needs for a year? With all of the budget cuts and lack of funding, many of these children throughout the United States miss out on every-day activities such as sports, piano lessons, dance lessons, and all the fun things that are not reimbursed through the state. Society, their peers, and the system mark them as misfits!

We have a young girl who came to our home and had not had the opportunity to do the normal things a girl her age should be able to do. The first opportunity we gave her to do so, she was shocked. "Me? I can do that? I am not supposed to get to do these things," she replied. She had in turn marked herself, and this is something we constantly struggle to change. Since when are children not allowed to have fun and do fun things?

Missouri requires many foster parenting classes and requirements for one to have a licensed home. I feel that these classes, along with the constant support that we receive from our Local Division of Family Services office and caseworkers, has been beneficial to the success of our foster home. We have had twelve wonderful children in our home in the last two years and currently have six wonderful children.

Our caseworkers visit our home regularly and meet with the children and ourselves. We have weekly contact with them, and they are available to us anytime we need them. They are overloaded and overworked. They still do their jobs and for this, we commend them and all like them!

As the system is evaluated, I ask that they remember the children are the ones that suffer. Many of these children have known nothing other than this from the start, and continue to live like this daily. These children are the reason these changes need to be made. These children are the reason for the jobs so many of us do. These children are the ones we need to remember!

Missouri Foster Parent (Memphis, MO)

Credits: Tara Yarbrough

Visitor Comments (1)
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Stephanie - 11 months ago
0 0 0
I so agree. Changes need to be made in regards to money. It can become a burden on the families providing services but do remember there are some things we go without to provide for the children. I must say my case managers are awesome, over worked, and running on empty at times. But they are the best along with the commitment some of us make as fosterparents. #1
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