RELEASE: Missouri Enrolls in New Foster Care Study

Today, the First Lady announced that the Missouri Children’s Division is enrolled in a new and innovative study on foster parent recruitment and retention. It is a new research study examining the attitudes and experiences of hundreds of foster and adoptive parents in Missouri.

Dr. Elise Dallimore, the lead researcher for the project, has said, “never before has there been a study that looks at foster parent recruitment and retention on this scale.”

The First Lady’s statement is below:

“Our foster parents do incredible work. They step up to love and care for our state’s children in some of the most difficult and traumatic moments in these kids’ lives. Eric Greitens and I support and honor they work that they do every day – which was why the very first dinner we held at the Governor’s Mansion was with foster parents and children.

Today, we met with Missouri’s Foster Care and Adoption board. It’s made up of foster and adoptive parents from every corner of the state, and we’re thankful to each of them for volunteering their time to help us improve how the state works with foster families.

One of the things we’ve heard loud and clear is that foster parents want their role to be respected and valued. The statistics aren’t great – nationwide, as many as 60% of foster parents quit within a year.

We want that to change. We want foster parents to know that they are respected, trusted, and valued as they step up to protect and care for our kids. And we want to fix things that are driving them away from foster parenting unnecessarily.

That’s why, earlier this year, we enrolled Missouri in the most comprehensive study that’s ever been done on foster parent recruitment and retention. It tracks foster parents from the moment they express interest in being a foster mom or dad, through the training and placement process, to figure out why people sign up to be foster parents and what makes them stay involved or leave. (The National Council for Adoption is funding the study, so it’s not costing the state.)

I’m especially happy that the study is being done by someone who is both a respected researcher and a foster parent – someone who knows firsthand the experience of foster parenting and can ask the right questions to find out how to better support our foster families.

We’re grateful to Dr. Elise Dallimore and the National Council for Adoption for partnering with us on this study, and look forward to their findings. You can read a short interview with the researcher, Dr. Dallimore, at the link below:

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