How to Become a Foster Parent

As a foster parent, you will be an integral member of a team that includes the child’s service workers, their family, the court, and community members. This team’s mission is to meet the needs of the family in order to safely return the child home when it’s possible.

There are, of course, a few important steps we’d like to help guide you through as you learn more about becoming a foster parent and determine whether it’s the right decision for you and your family.

Contact the local Children’s Division office.

A local worker will schedule a time to meet in your home to share information about our services, talk about the rewards and challenges of fostering a child, and answer all of your questions about the foster parent program.

Submit an application for a foster parent license.

This step also includes a child/abuse and criminal background check which our agency conducts free of charge.

Enroll in a STARS training class.

We’ll assist you in joining the STARS program, which introduces prospective foster and adoptive families to the rewards and challenges involved in caring for Missouri’s most vulnerable children. The STARS program is important for even the most experienced parents; because fostering and adopting is very different from parenting your own biological children.

The STARS program includes an in-home assessment consisting of at least four visits to your home by the Resource Development Worker to ensure that your home meets licensing requirements. The specialist will also be able to answer any additional questions you may have, as well as continue to share information about our agency and the children in our care.

Receive your foster parent license.

Licensed foster parents are then placed on our confidential database. When a child or children come into state custody, local caseworkers coordinate with licensed foster parents in their area to see if the foster family is able to temporarily care for the child or children.

We understand that every situation is different, and that sometimes even licensed foster parents may choose to decline taking a child into care. What’s important to us is that more families are licensed and ready so that we have as many placement options as possible.


Thank you so much for your interest in becoming a foster parent. For more information, please contact the Adoption Exchange office:

The Adoption Exchange
Phone: 800-554-2222