The first step toward becoming a foster or adoptive parent in Missouri is completing the assessment and training program.

All foster and adoptive parents are required to complete our Specialized Training, Assessment, Resources, Support and Skills (STARS) program. This program introduces prospective foster and adoptive families to the rewards and challenges involved in caring for Missouri's most vulnerable children. These training sessions also offer an opportunity for prospective families to:

  • Ask questions
  • Build relationships with other parents and agency staff
  • Determine if foster or adoptive parenting is the right choice

What does the STARS program include?

Fostering and adopting is very different from parenting a biological child. Foster and adoptive parents must support the relationship between the child and his/her birth family and help the child manage feeling about being in foster care, or the possibility of being adopted. The STARS program strives to prepare you to:

  • Protect and nurture foster and adoptive children
  • Meet children's developmental needs and address developmental delays
  • Support relationships between children and their families
  • Connect children with safe, nurturing relationships intended to last a lifetime
  • Actively participate in a professional team

STARS also includes an in-home assessment consisting of at least four visits to your home by a Resource Development worker. The worker will:

  • Discuss information with you about our agency
  • Discuss the children in our care
  • Talk with you about your family
  • Look at your home to make sure it meets licensing requirements
  • Help you make important decisions about whether the decision to foster or adopt is right for you and your family

We are interested in adopting. Do we need additional training?

Additional training is required for families interested in adoption. These additional classes offer tools and information needed to:

  • Understand how adoptive families are different
  • Anticipate the effects of separation, loss, and grief in adoption
  • Understand the need to keep in touch with those who matter to the child
  • Understand attachment and its importance in adoption
  • Anticipate challenges and identify strategies for dealing with these challenges as an adoptive family
  • Explore the lifelong commitment to a child that adoption requires