Missouri is enrolled in a new foster care study

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COLUMBIA - Missouri has entered in a new foster care study that will look at foster parent recruitment and retention. 

It will specifically focus on why people choose to become foster parents, what makes them continue or what makes them want to stop.

First Lady Sheena Greitens said national data shows most foster parents quit within a year. 

"One of the things that I am particularly excited about in this study is the fact that it’s comprehensive and it’s so in-depth," she said.

Greitens said it will be the most comprehensive study on foster parent retention and recruitment to date. 

When Greitens was in third grade, her family adopted her sister, making the matter personal to her. 

"I think it’s important to recognize our foster parents and families do really incredible work," she said. "They open their homes to kids at literally the most challenging and traumatic moments of that child’s life." 

According to data by the Lutheran Family and Children's Services of Missouri, there are 19,400 children in the Missouri Children's Division of Social Services. The average length of stay for a child in foster care is two years. 

"Every family is a little bit different," Greitens said. "We’ll be looking for our patterns that might tell us where we could do a better job at this particular point, or at this particular point, to support our foster families and our foster parents."

The National Council for Adoption will fund the study.