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Reasons Missouri Children Entered Foster Care

FY 2022

4,151 children were involved in incidents that were concluded as substantiated for abuse/neglect.

Source: Missouri Department of Social Services-Children’s Division-Child Abuse and Neglect Annual Report-Fiscal Year 2022

Homelessness in Missouri

Parents do not choose homelessness or inadequate housing, yet children often enter foster care for these conditions born of poverty, not neglect.

  • After experiencing a decrease in homelessness between 2007 and 2016, homelessness in Missouri has been on the rise since 2017.
  • 5,992 Missourians were homeless on any given night in 2022.
    • 4,312 Individuals
    • 1,680 experienced homelessness as part of a family
  • While the number of Missourians experiencing homelessness decreased 4% between 2007 and 2022, the number of unsheltered homeless increased 44% during that same period.

Source: National Alliance to End Homelessness

Housing Affordability

  • 204,049, or 27%, of renter households are extremely low-income (maximum income of $26,500 for four-person household)
  • -114,609 ---Shortage of rental homes affordable and available for extremely low-income renters

Source: National Low Income Housing Coalition. 2023 Missouri Housing Profile

Substance Use Disorders

Substance use disorders can be traumatic for every family, but when the impacted family lives in poverty, the chance of a child being removed and placed in foster care increases.

The latest Missouri estimates from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health1 indicate 778,000 Missouri adolescents and adults experienced substance use disorders during the past year. They include:

  • 526,000 with disorders involving alcohol use,
  • 343,000 with illicit drug use and
  • 49,000 with prescription drug misuse.

Other Mental Health

Missouri data from the NSDUH also indicate 996,000 adult residents experienced mental health issues during the past year. They include:

  • 292,000 with serious mental illness,
  • 483,000 who experienced major depressive episodes and
  • 256,000 who had serious thoughts of suicide.
  • 79,000 adolescents had major depressive episodes.

Source: Missouri Department of Mental Health, Division of Behavioral Health, Status Report on Missouri’s Substance Use and Mental Health-28th Edition-2022