There is a great number of foster care children in Missouri in need of a stable and permanent home. For one reason or another, they are unable to return to their biological families. If you have ever thought about adopting a child, now may be a good time to take the next step.

Children do not require perfection in adoptive parents, and the Department of Social Services does not insist on it. There are requirements you must meet to adopt a child, but they are less onerous than you may imagine. To clear up any confusion, here is an explanation of what DSS does and does not require of adoptive parents.

Requirements

To make sure you meet a child’s basic needs, DSS does require the following of you if you wish to adopt a foster child.

  • Training: Assuming that you meet the other qualifications, you must complete the Specialized Training, Assessment, Resources, Support and Skills program. You can participate free of charge.
  • Good physical and mental health: Health screenings assess this.
  • Age: DSS requires that adoptive parents be at least 21 years of age.
  • Stable income and housing: You must demonstrate the ability to meet a child’s basic needs.
  • Background check: You will have to undergo a record check that includes fingerprinting.

Not Required

Many prospective adoptive parents have mistaken ideas of what DSS expects of them. Despite the misconceptions, the following are not requirements to adopt:

  • Wealth: As long as your income is steady and you can provide for a child, you do not need great wealth.
  • Marriage: Single parents can adopt just as married parents can.
  • Homeownership: You do not need to own your own home to adopt a child.

There can be expenses related to adopting a child, but these often do not apply when adopting a foster child. The state typically covers a majority of these expenses for you.

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