KANSAS CITY, Mo. - More than 500 people from Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, Oklahoma, Illinois, Kansas and Missouri are expected to attend a two-day conference in Kansas City, Mo.
The conference, titled "Fostering strategies for change: children, families and their communities," is at the Westin Crown Center.
Several organizations sponsored the event, including the UMKC School of Social Work, Midwest Foster Care and Adoption Association, Cornerstones of Care and the Missouri Department of Social Services Children's Division.
The convention is full of foster care experts. Lawyers, judges, researchers, youth and family caregivers are talking about their experiences, community involvement and policy needs.
Rosalyn Bertram, Ph.D and Associate Professor of Social Work at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, is one of the founders of the annual conference.
“This is not just about foster children,” explained Bertram. “This is about all children in the system whether they are in foster care, adopted or having issues in biological families.”
Bertram explained that the goal of the conference is to encourage providers and social service agencies to increase collaboration and integration to improve delivery of services to children and families.
Tammy Spears is a foster parent who also works for Midwest Foster Care and Adoption Association. She has been a foster parent in Missouri to 16 children ranging in age from 4 to 22 years old.
“One of the biggest issues is money,” explained Spears.
“The state is doing what it can with its limited resources; but I think the state could do better,” Spears said.
She is concerned that if young people do not get the medical and mental health care they need, that young person will have a greater struggle becoming a productive, strong, independent adult.
Spears added that there are waiting lists for adoption and foster care. If you are interested in being a foster care parent or adopting a child, you can contact the Midwest Foster Care and Adoption Association at http://www.mfcaa.org/.
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