Caitlin Golike, the CFO’s director of donor services, hosts a discussion on the unique needs of foster families with:
- Lisa Allen-Clay, behavioral intervention program manager for FosterAdopt Connect
- Bridget Dierks, vice president of programs for the CFO
- Rebecca Weber, program director for CASA of Southwest Missouri
- Heather Zoromski, executive director of the Darr Family Foundation
The panel covers the work done by local agencies to serve children in foster care, as well as foster and biological parents, and the plans for high-impact grantmaking from local funders to meet the distinct challenges faced by foster children in Missouri.
The 2021 Community Focus Report for Springfield & Greene County once again highlighted how child abuse and neglect is a persistent Red Flag within the community, and the increase of children in foster care in the Ozarks reflects that. In 2021, 36 children entered foster care each month in Greene County, a 44% increase from the prior year. This increase also is reflected across both the CFO’s service region and the state as a whole. In 2020 alone, 20,226 children were in Missouri’s foster care system. The need for advocates, facilities, mental health services, and staff to support programming and reunification efforts is great.