Home Study Requirements for Prospective Foster Parents - Missouri


Who May Apply

Citation: Code of State Regs. Tit. 13, § 35-60.030

Applicants for foster care licensure shall be at least age 21. They must be U.S. citizens, either through birth or naturalization, or be able to verify lawful immigration status.

Foster parents must be able to acquire skills and demonstrate performance-based competence in the care of children, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Protecting and nurturing
  • Meeting developmental needs and addressing developmental delays
  • Supporting relationships between children and families
  • Connecting children to lifetime relationships
  • Working as a member of a professional team

Foster parents shall be responsible, mature individuals of reputable character who exercise sound judgment, display the capacity to provide good care for children, and display the motivation to foster.

At the time of application for a license, foster parents shall authorize their physician to submit a statement regarding his/her opinion of the mental health of each foster family member and certifying that a physical examination was completed within the past year and that all household members were free from communicable disease or are not a threat to the health of foster children and are up to date on all immunizations.

Foster parents and all foster family members must be determined by a physician to be in good physical and mental health.

Training Requirements

Citation: Code of State Regs. Tit. 13, § 35-60.030

Prior to licensure, each adult with parenting responsibilities is required to successfully complete a competency-based training approved by the Children's Division.

To maintain a foster home license, each foster parent shall meet performance-based criteria as part of a professional family development plan and complete a prescribed number of foster parent training hours as approved by the licensing authority during each 2-year licensure period. The subject of training shall be directly tied to the foster parent professional development plan and related to the needs and ages of children in their care.

Minimum Standards for Foster Homes

Citation: Code of State Regs. Tit. 13, §§ 35-60.040; 35-60.050

The location of the foster home shall have access to schools, recreational, religious, or other community resources.

The home shall be constructed, arranged, and maintained to provide adequately for the health and safety of all occupants. It shall be of size and space and shall have furnishings and equipment to accommodate comfortably both the foster family and foster children. All flammable liquids, matches, cleaning supplies, poisonous materials, medicines, or other hazardous items shall be stored so as to be inaccessible to the children. Any firearms and ammunition shall be stored so as to be inaccessible to children.

The home's interior shall be free from an accumulation of visible dirt and any evidence of vermin and rodent infestations. All rooms shall have proper lighting and ventilation. The home shall have space for indoor play and access to outdoor play space.

Foster children of the opposite sex age 6 or older shall not sleep in the same room. Foster children age 2 or older shall not sleep in the bedroom of the foster parents, except for special temporary care, such as during a child's illness. Foster children should never sleep in a bed with foster parents. Each bed or crib shall be of a size as to ensure the comfort of the foster child. Each foster child under age 2 shall have a separate bed.

All foster homes shall have a working telephone or an agency-approved form of emergency contact. An operable smoke detector shall be installed near all sleeping areas. A charged fire extinguisher shall be located near the kitchen area. A carbon monoxide detector shall be required in all homes with gas appliances.

Any private vehicle used to transport foster children must have proper insurance coverage. Safety standards for the vehicle shall be within the minimum requirements and be operated by a person with a valid operating license. All children shall be secured in the car by car seats or seat belts, as required by law.

Approval Process

Citation: Code of State Regs. Tit. 13, §§ 35-60.010; 35-60.030

Any applicant, any household member age 17 and older, and any child younger than 17 who has been certified as an adult for the commission of a crime, or has been convicted of any crime, shall register with the Family Care Safety Registry and submit signed release forms and fingerprints for the purpose of obtaining background screening for child abuse and neglect, criminal, and circuit court records.

The home study shall include the following information about the foster family:

  • Family size and household composition
  • Ethnic and racial background
  • Religious preferences and practices
  • Lifestyles and practices
  • Educational practices
  • Employment

Personal information elicited in the home assessment shall determine whether the foster parent can do the following:

  • Structure the home environment so that it is safe and healthy for the child
  • Express positive feelings toward the child verbally and physically
  • Recognize and respond appropriately to the child's verbal and physical expressions of needs and wants
  • Consistently use basic behavior management techniques in dealing with the child
  • Consistently use appropriate techniques to discipline the child and not use corporal punishment on any child in the custody of the division
  • Guide the child toward increasing independence
  • Behave in a way that recognizes the immaturity of the child

All information collected for the home study will be condensed to comprise a foster home profile that will be available to team members so that placement decisions can be made in the best interests of the child. The profile will not contain any protected health information, financial information, or information on birth or adopted children of the foster family.

Grounds for Withholding Approval

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 210.496

The Children's Division may refuse to issue either a license or a provisional license to an applicant who:

  • Fails consistently to comply with the applicable provisions of Ann. Stat. §§ 208.400 to 210.535 and any applicable rules
  • Violates State laws or rules relating to the protection of children
  • Furnishes or makes any misleading or false statements to the division
  • Refuses to make available any records required by the division in making an investigation
  • Fails or refuses to admit authorized representatives of the division at any reasonable time for the purpose of investigation
  • Fails or refuses to submit to an investigation by the division
  • Fails to provide, maintain, equip, and keep in safe and sanitary condition the premises used for the care of children being served, as required by law, rule, or ordinance applicable to the location of the foster home
  • Fails to provide financial resources adequate for the satisfactory care of and services to children being served and the upkeep of the premises

Kinship Foster Care

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 210.565

Whenever a child is placed in a foster home and the court has determined that foster home placement with relatives is not contrary to the best interests of the child, the division shall give foster home placement to relatives of the child. The division shall make diligent efforts to locate the grandparents of the child and determine whether they wish to be considered for placement of the child. Grandparents who request consideration shall be given preference and first consideration for foster home placement of the child.

The preference for placement and first consideration for grandparents or preference for placement with other relatives shall only apply when the court finds that placement with the grandparents or other relatives is not contrary to the best interests of the child, considering all circumstances. If the court finds that it is contrary to the best interests of a child to be placed with grandparents or other relatives, the court shall make specific findings on the record detailing the reasons why the best interests of the child necessitate placement of the child with persons other than grandparents or other relatives.

The age of the child's grandparent or other relative shall not be the only factor that the division takes into consideration when it makes placement decisions and recommendations to the court about placing the child with such grandparent or other relative. A grandparent or other relative may, on a case-by-case basis, have standards for licensure not related to safety waived for specific children in care that would otherwise impede licensing of the grandparent's or relative's home.

For any Native American child placed in protective custody, the division shall comply with the placement requirements set forth in the Indian Child Welfare Act (25 U.S.C. § 1915).

Foster to Adopt

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 210.566; 453.070

If a child becomes free for adoption while in foster care, the child's foster family shall be given preferential consideration as adoptive parents.

Any adult person or persons age 18 or older, who, as foster parent or parents, have cared for a foster child continuously for a period of 9 months or more and have bonded with the child, as evidenced by the positive emotional and physical interaction between the foster parent and child, may apply for the placement of the child with them for the purpose of adoption if the child is eligible for adoption. The agency and court shall give preference and first consideration for adoptive placements to foster parents. However, the final determination of the propriety of the adoption of such foster child shall be within the sole discretion of the court.

Interjurisdictional Approval

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 210.620; 210.622

Prior to sending a child to a receiving State, the public child-placing agency shall submit a written request for assessment to the receiving State. The assessment shall evaluate the prospective placement to determine whether the placement meets the individualized needs of the child, including, but not limited to, the child's safety and stability; health and well-being; and mental, emotional, and physical development.

Upon receipt of a request from the public child welfare agency of the sending State, the receiving State shall initiate an assessment of the proposed placement to determine its safety and suitability. If the proposed placement is a placement with a relative, the public child-placing agency of the sending State may request a determination of whether the placement qualifies as a provisional placement.

The public child-placing agency in the receiving State may request from the public child-placing agency or the private child-placing agency in the sending State and shall be entitled to receive supporting or additional information necessary to complete the assessment.

The public child-placing agency in the receiving State shall complete or arrange for the completion of the assessment within the timeframes established by the rules of the Interstate Commission.

Notwithstanding the provisions above, the division may enter into an agreement with a similar agency in any State adjoining Missouri that provides for the emergency placement of abused or neglected children across State lines, without the prior approval required by the interstate compact. A request for approval shall be initiated if the placement extends beyond 30 days.

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