Dear Friends and Family,
Times are so challenging right now. My heart goes out to all those suffering during this pandemic, particularly those who have lost their jobs, their loved ones, or their lives due to COVID-19. As we all struggle to adapt to the ways this has affected our everyday lives, my thoughts are also with the many students who, like my son, are grieving the loss of their senior year, and the babies, like my granddaughter, who may be born without family members present. Please know my thoughts, prayers and support are with each of you. CMFCAA is here for you, and for the families who need us so desperately during these difficult times. As we have seen first-hand, Central Missouri’s foster, adoptive, and kinship families are facing even greater challenges, as grandparents raise their grandchildren on fixed incomes and parents work to put food on the table for multiple children who are now without childcare.
During uncertain times such as these, we are reminded of the importance of a safe and loving family. Unfortunately, we also know that too many children in Central Missouri are still waiting to find a supportive and caring home, including hundreds of youth in our 13 counties who are over the age of twelve and at risk of aging out of foster care before finding a forever family.
As we come together as a community to support one another during this difficult time, it is more important than ever that we wrap our arms around children and youth who have suffered abuse and neglect, reminding them that they are loved, accepted, and cared for.
At CMFCAA we are taking the current situation with COVID-19 very seriously, and have made the decision to temporarily close our physical office locations and move all staff to working from home. That doesn’t mean that our services have stopped. While our programs and services might look a little bit different during this time of crisis, our staff and partners are still committed to supporting children and families to the best of our ability.
- As the situation develops, our Family Development trainers have been able to move their classes (including CPR training) online, providing virtual trainings, home visits, and assessments for prospective foster and adoptive families. Final licensing walkthroughs and hands-on CPR tests are on hold until the stay-at-home guidelines are lifted.
- Our 30 Days to Family® program is continuing to diligently search for relative and kinship placements for children first entering foster care. Over the last two weeks, they have completed 4 virtual walk-throughs by using FaceTime to connect with potential families.
- Although our Roots and Odyssey events are currently cancelled, our Direct Services team is working to provide resource families across our service area with fun packs and educational resources for in-home respite. The team is also setting up an online platform to enable resource parents to receive virtual training hours while at home. Staff continue to put together Begin Again Backpacks for children first entering foster or kinship care, working with families to ensure a safe drop off.
- The Kinship Navigator program is using technology to meet virtually with families and respond to increased needs from families experiencing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic, including helping with rent payments, utility bills, and other needs. They work daily to provide kinship families with up-to-date information to help them through this crisis.
- Our Community Connections Youth Program specialists continues to work with former foster youth through phone calls and video chats. During this time of increased need, the CCYP staff are helping these youth access health services, secure housing and food, and apply for benefit programs to help navigate this crisis.
At the Central Missouri Foster Care & Adoption Association our mission is helping kids, and that doesn’t stop when times get tough. That’s why today I want to say “thank you” for helping us nurture Central Missouri’s children in ways that would be unimaginable without your support. From the bottom of my heart, and on behalf of all who have worked diligently toward our ambitious goal of assisting every child find their forever homes, I thank you sincerely for your generosity and hard work during this difficult time. We are so thankful that you believe in us, our mission, and our ability to do such important work. We will work just as diligently – if not more so – than before. Please accept our deep gratitude for those like you who have worked alongside us, no matter the capacity.
For the sake of the children,