Recently there has been an increase in the number of children needing foster care and a decrease in families willing to help.

Northwest Missouri’s five-county region has between 80 ad 85 children in the foster care system and 10 licensed foster homes. There are about 30 homes in which family members have taken in  children who are relatives.

Maryville Cornerstones of Care Resource Development Manager Valyn McClellan emphasized the area’s urgent need for foster homes. Due to the shortage of local homes, there are almost 10 children from the region living with families in St. Joseph and Bethany.

“We try to keep the children as close to their family, school and friends as possible, but sometimes we just can’t,” McClellan said.

Cornerstones is hosting an informational meeting for those interested in helping foster families or becoming foster parents. The meeting is from 6 to 7 pm, Tuesday August 23 at the Cornerstones of Care office, located inside the Community Services office, 1212 B South Main, Maryville. Those unable to attend the meeting may call 855.SRV.KIDS (855.778.5437) for more information.

“We offer training and support. Foster parents are never on their own. This is a good way to help your local community,” McClellan said.

The agency also coordinates adoption for children not able to return to their biological families. Adoption information will also be provided at the meeting.