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Missouri representative hopes to make it easier to become foster parents by speeding up training

Nearly 14,000 children currently are in the Missouri foster care system. Finding and training foster parents willing to give them loving homes seems to be a never-ending challenge.

State Rep. Hannah Kelly, a Republican from Mountain Grove, wants to speed up the training to make it more convenient, Missourinet reported. During a hearing Monday at the state capitol in Jefferson City, Kelly said she knows of many other adults aspiring to foster, but the length of training is a problem for many families.

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Rep. Hannah Kelly

“I was fortunate to be part of a pilot program when I became licensed in which they did it for three Saturdays in a row,” she said. “That was totally providential, as I would like to say, because I’m telling you right now, if I had to go to nine weeks’ worth of classes, I probably would not be a foster parent right now.”

Kelly, the chair of the Joint Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect, wants the state to work on a standardized foster parent training approach. “I have a phenomenal person in my district who, if I could tell her that she could train in three weekends, she would do it in a New York minute,” she said.

Jennifer Tidball, state social services department acting director, said a pilot program in southeast Missouri is under way to recruit more foster parents there. “It’s less classroom curriculum with the intent to kind of better support foster parents who don’t have the ability to spend nine different times in a classroom,” she said.

The state also is hiring full-time recruiters in southeast Missouri to find families willing to foster kids the state.

“We don’t always do horrible at recruiting families who want to take a 0- to 5-year-old healthy child,” Tidball said. “Unfortunately, those aren’t typically the kids that we need foster parents to parent.”

More information about becoming a foster parent in Missouri is available HERE.