1.4 Responding to Inquiries
Team members may receive inquiries from prospective foster parents in a variety of ways throughout the course of their work. This may include calls, emails, social media messages letters, personal contact by someone in the office, or personal contact with someone the team member is engaged with in the community. Any team member who receives an inquiry should:
- Be familiar with their local inquiry protocol and contacts;
- Introduce themselves by name and title;
- Thank the caller for their interest;
- Obtain the inquirers contact information and notify the local designee of the inquiry for follow up;
- Let the inquirer know someone will contact them within 3 business days and who to contact if they do not receive this contact.
Children’s Division recruitment materials direct individuals interested in becoming a foster parent to https://dss.mo.gov/cd/foster-care/becoming-a-foster-parent.htm. This website provides inquirers with information and resources about the foster care licensing process. It also provides inquirers with a centralized intake contact number and email address. The centralized intake team responds to inquiries and contacts prospective foster parents directly to answer any basic questions they may have before connecting them with a licensing worker in their residence county.
- Introduce self by name and title;
Give information about the fostering program, addressing the questions/concerns raised by the caller including: Whether an inquiry is received locally at the county office, or through central intake, the county designee responsible for responding to inquiries should make contact with the inquirer within three (3) business days to complete an initial screening:
- Goals and challenges of the family foster care and adoption programs;
- Importance of foster parents;
- Description of children needing foster families;
- Specific requirements for fostering or adopting;
- Competencies for fostering;
- Importance of participating in the resource family’s development process; and
- Steps in the licensing/certification process.
- Screen for sibling groups, Native American families (see Section 4, Chapter 4, Subsection 4), and other special populations such as teens and older youth. These inquirers receive priority services in the assessment process.
- Conclude inquiry call, clarifying next steps if the inquire would like more information.
- Within 30 days, offer one of the following based on the inquirers understanding of and readiness to move forward in the process:
NOTE: If an inquirer is not interested in receiving additional information but appear to have the ability to foster or adopt, circuits may offer to place the inquirer on a mailing list to receive updates on future informational meetings.
Children’s Division team members are legitimate inquirers and applicants. Refer to Section 6, Resource Development, Chapter 10 of the Child Welfare Manual, CD Employees as Foster or Adoptive Parents.