SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– Every year 7,000 children enter Missouri’s foster care system, according to the Missouri Alliance for Children and Families (MACF). There are currently around 14,000 children in the state’s custody.

“We do have a great need for foster families throughout the state,” The Director of Resource Development MACF Karie Scott-Roark said.

MACF is a non-profit organization that serves children, youth, and their families connected to the foster system. It also provides wraparound services to help provide a successful outcome for both children and their families.

Licensing Supervisor Kent Ferguson said about 40% of the children in state care are placed with a relative or family friend. The remaining foster families available, on average, have to take two children to provide enough housing. Instability is a challenge for youth.

“The average youth in foster care moves about three to four times a year, from one type of placement to another,” Ferguson said. “I’ve worked with kids in the past that have moved over 10 times in a year and upwards of 40 to 50 times within five years.”

There are different levels of licensing to become a foster parent. Ferguson said respite providers are also needed.

“They provide a place for a kid to go just for a weekend, which is also extremely important and gives foster parents a break,” Ferguson said.

To learn more information, call The Missouri Alliance for Children and Families main office in Jefferson City at (573) 556-8090 or follow the organization on Facebook.