There are currently around 1,700 children and youth in Missouri who are unable to return to their biological parents and are in need of adoptive parents to provide a permanent home and a family to help them move forward in their life. To help bring awareness to these children, Governor Mike Parson signed a proclamation on November 13 declaring November Adoption Awareness Month in Missouri. The hope is that by bringing awareness to these children and the need for adoptive families in Missouri, we’ll be able to help each of them find the loving family they deserve.

This year’s theme, “In Their Own Words, Lifting Up Youth Voices,” focuses on older youth who may otherwise age out of foster care without strong, stable family support. Teenagers in foster care are less likely to be adopted, often simply because of their age. However, older youth need just as much support as young children. In fact, securing legal and emotional lifelong connections for youth in foster care is a critical component in determining their future achievement, stability, health, and well-being.

The Department of Social Services encourages anyone who is willing to open their homes to assist children in need to learn more about adoption in Missouri. Anyone can apply to become an adoptive parent in Missouri, as long as they are 21 years old and willing to go through the training and assessment process. You can be parents currently or anxious to create a family through adoption, be single or married, own or rent a home, apartment, condo or other residence that meets licensing standards.

The adoption process includes background checks, health screenings, financial discussions and home assessments. Basic requirements include:

At least 21 years of age

Complete a child abuse/neglect check and criminal record check (including fingerprints)

Be in good mental and physical health

Have a stable income

Be willing to participate in and complete a free training and assessment process

If you would like to find out more about these wonderful youth or if you would like to see if adoption or foster parenting is right for you, please visit http://www.MOHeartGallery.Org, call 1-800-554-2222 or send an email to The MO Heart Gallery features portraits and information about some of the children who are waiting on a forever family, along with contact information for those who are interested in learning more about the child. You can also contact Laura Babington, Resource Worker for Clark, Scotland, and Schulyer counties at 660-727-3393 ext. 229.

The Department of Social Services also features children hoping to find a forever family on social media. Be sure to follow us on Facebook (@MOSocialServices) and Twitter (@DSSMissouri) for the latest updates.

Shelley Curry, MSW

Circuit Manager

1st Judicial Circuit

Clark, Scotland, Schuyler