Children in foster care in Missouri are far more likely to age out of state care than to find permanent homes, according to a recent report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
Approximately 13,000 children live under the care of the state of Missouri, and about one-quarter of them are age 14 or older. Older children typically face troubling odds when waiting for adoption – the average age of a child awaiting adoption in the United States is about 7, according to Adoption Network.
The Annie E. Casey Foundation report found almost three in five children (59 percent) leave the Missouri foster system due to “emancipation”. Nationwide, a little more than half (51 percent) of U.S. children leave the system for this reason.
The report underscores the need for services for older youth. One positive policy change that could help these youth in Missouri is highlighted by the #FixTheGlitch campaign, supported by MCCA.
Currently, Missouri is one of several states that does not cover former foster youth who move from their state of origin into Missouri after age 18 (foster youth who remain in Missouri are covered under MO HealthNet until age 25). While recent federal legislation solves this problem for youth who turn 18 after Jan. 1, 2023 – there is currently no relief for former foster youth who move to Missouri before that time.