Our comprehensive, wraparound support services help foster and adoptive families succeed and build resilience.
Foster parenting is hard work. Navigating the adoption process is difficult. That’s why the Coalition has created a holistic network of support programs to help foster and adoptive families thrive.
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Our Educational Advocates work with the child’s Educational Decision Maker to determine and secure appropriate school placement, obtain educational evaluations, ensure implementation of special education services, and protect student’s rights during suspensions. Additionally, our Educational Advocacy program strives to provide children with educational stability and personal growth while helping our caregivers become more astute advocates for their children.
- Residing in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, St. Charles County with a child placed through foster care (no private guardianships/adoptions) with children age 3-20 years old
- Residing near the St. Louis area with a child (3-20 years old) placed through foster care who is under the jurisdiction of St. Louis City, County and St. Charles County Courts
- This child is experiencing an educational “barrier”- something getting in the way of a child’s educational success or access
Beth Nesbit, Director of Educational Advocacy – 800.FOSTER.3 (314.367.8373)
- Children’s Education Alliance of Missouri (CEAM)
- MPACT – Special School District (parent training and information)
- Center for Innovations
- Missouri Department of Education
- Missouri Department of Education – Special Education Division
- National Organization Fetal Alcohol Syndrom
- Special School District
- St. Louis Learning Disability Association (St. Louis LDA)
- St. Louis Public Schools
- DMH website for support and guidance on mental health issues
Financial Resources for College, Education, and Training For Foster & Adoptive Youth and Foster Care Alumni
Exhausted? Stressed? Confused? Need help?
Having trouble keeping your balance while parenting? What was helpful once backfires the following day? Feeling exhausted, confused and maybe a little bit angry? Do you understand trauma but lacking the key that unlocks the relationship, trust, and healing?
You are not alone, in fact, you are probably exactly where you should be given all the factors and variables complicating the situation.
Family Works supports foster/adoptive/guardianship caregivers find help, hope, and healing by focusing on repairing and supporting the adult-child relationship (and not only focusing on the behaviors causing distress.) By bringing adults and children back in sync to a loving, trusting relationship, the stage becomes reset to promote healing, growth and loving connections.
- Residency in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, or St. Charles County
- Caring for a child(ren) who is, or was, in the custody of Children’s Division as an adoptive foster or guardianship parent. (Private adoptions or guardianships are not eligible for this program)
- The child is between the ages of 3 and 19 years of age
Families living with a (or several) trauma-affected child often struggle to “stay in” relationship with the child. The impact of the trauma extends to everyone in the family and can interfere with previously healthy and supportive relationships such as those between parents and children, partners/spouses, and between siblings. No relationships escape the pain and the fallout of complex, developmental trauma.
By working with the caregivers, the specialists will provide support, skills, education, and a deeper understanding into the child’s view of themselves and their world. With this insight, parents can become better prepared to adjust their approaches to connect with the child rather than seemingly only correct the child. Services are provided in the home (currently virtually) and at no expense to the eligible families.
Services made possible thanks to the St. Louis Mental Health Board (St. Louis City), Children’s Service Fund (St. Louis County), and Community and Children’s Resource Board (St. Charles County).
Anne Zink – Director of Family Support
1750 South Brentwood Boulevard, Suite 210, Saint Louis, MO 63144
Navigation & Support
The Navigation & Support program advocates for families to get the supports and services needed to stabilize placement. We bridge the gap between families and systems that offer support to the foster, adoptive and natural home settings.
Navigation & Support Programs
Family Work Steps
STEPS stands for Safety, Trauma/Attachment, Empowerment, Performance, and Stability. The STEPS Specialist acts as care coordination consultant, helping the youth and family navigate multiple systems by: Engaging the youth and family; Being a single point of contact; Facilitating communication among providers; Tracking outcomes; Providing referrals and linkages; Managing transitions; Providing supportive follow up. The STEPS Specialist helps the family drive the Service Plan to completion, navigating systems, and overcoming barriers.
- St. Louis City, St. Louis County, Jefferson County and St. Charles County children ages 2-18
- In foster care, adopted from foster care or in guardianship with a relative/kin
- Are experiencing severe mental health concerns that put them at risk of psychiatric hospitalization, residential care or a placement change
Jefferson County Family Support Program
Jefferson County Family Support Program is a navigator program designed to meet the needs of the multi-systemic children in the Jefferson County region. The Family Support Specialist works collaboratively with partner agencies across the county to develop relationships which may be leveraged for the benefit of children and families served. The services provided by our Specialist include a mixture of direct and navigation services proven to prevent placement disruptions. The core focus areas of the work with families is as follows: Education, Mental Health, Parent Coaching and Behavioral Health, Kinship Navigation, Resource Referral, and Case-based Advocacy.
- Families residing in Jefferson County or outside of Jefferson County caring for youth under the court jurisdiction of Jefferson County Family Court under the age of 19
- In foster care, adopted from foster care or in guardianship with a relative/kin
Metro East Family Support Specialist
The Metro East Family Support Program is a navigator program designed to meet the needs of the multi-systemic children in the Metro East region. The Family Support Specialist is focused on supporting families to eliminate the need for disruptions in placements. Services provided by the Family Support Specialist include a mixture of direct and navigation services proven to prevent placement disruptions. Services include: increasing the partnership between the case manager and the family, assisting with educational issues, assisting with licensing requirements, parent coaching, addressing behavioral needs, helping to build the provider’s support network, and navigating through mental health services.
- Families residing in the St. Louis Metro East or outside of St. Louis Metro East caring for youth under the court jurisdiction of the St. Louis Metro East Court under the age of 19
- In foster care, adopted from foster care or in guardianship with a relative/kin
For more information about our programs contact Paula White, Director of Navigation and Support.
To make a referral to our programs call 314. 367. 8373 and ask to speak with intake, or email a brief description of the case to Paula White at email@example.com.
Parent & Older Youth Support Groups
Any parent will tell you that foster care and adoption takes more than love, it takes skill, too! We offer a variety of skills-building support groups, free for parents. They are currently held virtually via Zoom. You must register to attend by contacting Annie Brod at 314-367-8373.
In addition to our on-going support group, the Coalition is now offering a free Relative Support Group designed especially for relative and kinship foster parents. We will work together to build confidence in your parenting, hear your stories, and help you build your network of other relative providers in an open and non-judgmental environment. They are currently held virtually via Zoom. Register to attend by our Relative Support Group by contacting Edna Green at 314-367-8373.
Foster/Adopt Parent Training
Licensed foster parents are required to complete 30 hours of in-service training per licensure period (every two years). The Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition hosts a number of parent workshops. These workshops will allow you to:
- Connect with other parents to share resources
- Learn how a child’s prior experiences can impact their behaviors
- Explore ways to enhance your strengths as a parent
- Share and learn new skills to influence your child’s behaviors and attitudes
- Discover ways to reduce the stress of parenting
What Parents Have Said:
“Going through this [workshop] has really helped me to realize that the strong behaviors [my adopted son] had were not his fault, but also that they were not my fault!”
“It gives the opportunity for….real change and healing for the kids.”
Cornerstones of Care and the Coalition have teamed up to provide therapy to address the unique needs of foster & adoptive families. As Kansas City’s leading name in trauma-informed therapy, Cornerstones of Care is uniquely qualified to serve local children impacted by foster care. St. Louis families can now receive this high quality of service right here at the Coalition office in Brentwood.
Foster/adoptive families often face unique challenges due to emotional, mental and/or physical trauma experienced by children in their care. The majority of families receive excellent support from existing programs and partnerships in the St. Louis community.
A small percentage of families need additional, more intensive services. The Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition will identify these families and connect them to Cornerstones of Care for outpatient counseling. Cornerstones of Care’s therapists are highly trained in the areas of trauma, attachment, and adoption. The Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition will augment the counseling with training and in-home services for the families.
For more information about our partner agency visit cornerstonesofcare.org, or call 314-881-0350.
Laura Nolan, M.Ed., LPC, NCC
Clinical Manager – Eastern Missouri Cornerstones of Care Office
About Little Wishes
Little Wishes allow children in foster care to have childhood experiences they may not otherwise be able to enjoy. Funds are often not available for the “extras” that make childhood special, such as summer camp, lessons, sports teams, graduation expenses, a room makeover and fun days with siblings and friends.
Little Wishes Requirements
Please consider the following criteria BEFORE completing and submitting a Little Wishes Referral Form.
- Child must be at least 5 years old
- Child must currently be in foster care
- One wish per year, per child
A Little Wish must
- Help the child develop or enhance a skill (for example: dance lessons, bicycle, basketball hoop).
- Help the child sustain the bond between biological siblings living in separate foster homes (for example: sibling visit to Chuck E. Cheese or Dave and Busters).
- Provide the child with an opportunity to attend a St. Louis attraction or event, a camp or trip (for example: Cardinals game, summer camp, senior trip).
- Allow the child to gather with family and friends to celebrate a special day (for example: a special birthday party, prom expenses, graduation fees).
- Help cultivate the child’s sense of belonging in their foster home (for example: a room makeover).
- Dollar limit $250 out of pocket per wish. (Referring source should use discretion on any wishes that may exceed this amount. Referring source should not share dollar amount with child).
- Foster family/case workers/adoption recruiter/CASA/GAL are responsible for identifying and securing transportation necessary for fulfillment of wish
- Area limited to greater metro St. Louis area – Travel outside this area off limits
- Camps determined on case-by-case basis
- Time frame for wishes should be reasonable and finite (8 weeks of classes, not one year)
- No electronic devices such as tablets, phones, laptops, or computers
- No toys
- No video games
- No pets
- No gun training, paint ball lessons, fencing, shooting or weaponry of any kind
- No clothing wishes fulfilled unless supported by experience or self-esteem context
Protocol for change of wish
Any time a wish needs to be changed, a new application nulls and voids the previous submission. Referring source can withdraw a wish at any time. Wish fulfillment is first-come, first-served and Little Wishes will make every attempt to fulfill them in a timely manner. Some wishes may be fulfilled first if there is a seasonal deadline (for example: Cardinals games, Six Flags visit, etc.)
Little Wishes Referrals
Please fill this form out completely to request a Little Wish. Be sure to click “Submit” when you are finished. Children currently in foster care, ages 5 and older are eligible to receive one wish per year.
Submitting a request does NOT guarantee fulfillment of the request. Little Wishes are granted ONLY when donations are received from the community, generally within 30-45 days of the request. You will be notified once the funds are available and the request is able to be fulfilled.
The Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition does not make reimbursements to individuals. All checks will be made payable directly to the vendor.
By submitting this referral and providing your electronic signature, you indicate that you agree to the terms and conditions of the Little Wishes program.
Do you know a foster child who is likely to receive nothing or almost nothing for their birthday? The Coalition has a resource that can help – the Birthday Buddy program!
Through this program, generous individuals in the St. Louis community offer to become a Birthday Buddy and donate $75 or $100 so we can purchase gifts for kids. Children 12 and under receive $75 worth of gifts, and kids 13 and older receive $100 worth of gifts. Foster parents/case managers must complete a Birthday Buddy application, providing the Coalition with general information about the child and birthday present ideas, which will be posted on our website. When a child’s birthday buddy wish is granted, the Coalition will purchase the gifts online and have them sent straight to your home!
For a foster parent/case manager to enroll their foster child in the “Birthday Buddy” program:
- The foster parent/case manager must complete and submit the application below.
- The child MUST currently be in foster care (not adopted or guardianship).
- The foster child must be likely to receive nothing or almost nothing for their birthday.
- Applications must be submitted at least one month prior to the child’s birthday.
- Applications must be submitted no more than four months before the child’s birthday.
ReFresh & ReSource
ReFresh is a Fashion Forward Resale Boutique with great clothes and accessories for everyone, from designer items to vintage finds.
Youth in foster care can receive a 90% discount on clothing and accessories at ReFresh. Foster/Adoptive/Kinship families can receive a 30% discount on items at ReFresh.
ReSource offers free clothing for kids ages 0-12. This store is reserved for foster/adoptive families.
Hours: Wednesdays from 9am-1pm and Saturdays from 10am-1pm. Closed 4th of July.
Location: It is located at 1750 S. Brentwood Blvd, Suite 130.
Please come with confirmation of your status as a foster/adoptive parent.
Contact Stephanie Fisher, Director of ReSource, at 314.367.8373 or firstname.lastname@example.org for questions.
High School Senior Pictures
A few photographers have offered to take senior pictures for high school senior students who are currently in foster care. The photographers will provide a free 60 minute photo shoot and free digital images (on CD or over the internet, depending on photographer preference). Foster parents and case managers of high school seniors in foster care can get contact information for these photographers by filling out the information below.
By completing and signing this application, I hereby request information about photographers who will provide a free 60 minute photo shoot as well as free digital images from that shoot to youth in foster care who are seniors in high school.
(1) I understand the photographers are not employed by the Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition. I understand that the Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition is completely dependent on the generosity and responsibility of these photographers and that the Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition does not guarantee these complimentary photographic services.
(2) I understand that these photographers are typically paid for their photographic services and that they may have more than one photo shoot booked each day. If I make an appointment with one of these photographers, I agree to ensure that the youth will arrive on time for the appointment.
(3) If an appointment must be cancelled, I agree to inform the photographer at least one week in advance.
(4) I understand that this is a free service being provided, and that the Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition cannot make any guarantee that the youth, foster parent and/or case manager will be satisfied with the quality of the photographs taken.
(5) I understand that the photographer is providing a complimentary 60 minute photo shoot and that the photographs will be shared with the youth digitally (via the internet or on CD – whichever the photographer prefers). I promise not to ask for additional free services or products from the photographer.
By typing your full name and initials below, you electronically acknowledge reading, understanding, and agreeing to the above information. You state that all of the information you provided is true.
Student must be a high school senior in foster care.
About Project SOAR
The purpose of Project SOAR is to assist with transitioning children in foster care out of a residential treatment facility and into an appropriate community placement. The primary responsibility of Project SOAR will be to lead the youth’s child welfare team in developing and executing a Community Support Plan, which will address lifelong connections, mental health, medical, educational, and overall personal needs that will assist with the child’s transition and help stabilize them in an appropriate community placement.
- Ages: 3-21
- Youth in foster care, residing in a residential facility in the St. Louis area.
- Youth in foster care, under the jurisdiction of Jefferson County, St. Charles County, St. Louis City, and St. Louis County.
Referrals must be made by a member of your professional team.
- For more information about programs and to make a referral, please contact Cisely Beard, Director of Advocacy and Support, at 314-367-8373 (800-FOSTER-3) or email: email@example.com.
Diligent Search for Dads
Diligent Search for Dads Overview
Diligent Search for Dads is a brief support program designed to locate and notify dads of children in foster care. Diligent Search for Dads uses searching techniques similar to 30 Days to Family® and Extreme Recruitment,® but uniquely for dads. The Diligent Search for Dads Specialist will make contact with the father by phone, or in person, and provide contact information for the Case Manager or Deputy Juvenile making the referral. The Case Manager or Deputy Juvenile Officer will also receive a closing summary with details of the searching efforts, and information for how to contact the dad. Referrals can also be made for moms.
- Successfully locate and notify 90% of fathers referred to the program.
To make a referral: For more information, please contact Michael Hall at 314-367-8373. Referrals to the program can be made at any time, as long as the child is in foster care. The referral must be completed by the child’s Case Manager or Deputy Juvenile Officer. Please utilize the referral form and consent linked above, and contact Michael Hall at Michaelhall@foster-adopt.org (Office: 314.367-8373, Cell: 314.808.1293) or fax to 314-241-0715.