There were smiles all around on April 4 at the completion of STARS (Specialized Training Assessment Resources and Support) training for foster and adoptive parents. It was especially heartwarming given that April is Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Awareness Month and this group was formed to help children find forever families. Jaimi Nelson, licensing and placement specialist for Great Circle’s Boys & Girls Town – St. James, coordinated the class. Westside Baptist Church in Waynesville provided the conference room.

Missouri Children’s Division STARS program is designed to facilitate the development of relationships between prospective foster parents and adoptive parents and co-trainers to boost communication and team building. The class met twice a week for six weeks. In the final class, prospective foster/adoptive parents get to ask a panel of community members about the foster care system.

The panel members were from a variety of walks of life – adopted foster children, a Phelps County Juvenile Officer, Pulaski County Guardian ad Litem and a judge from Pulaski County. The panel fielded questions from the new foster parents for more than two hours.

 Participants brought a dish and after the panel shared a meal to celebrate the addition of these five new homes to our Great Circle family. The addition of these new families totals 10 new foster/adoptive homes licensed by Great Circle – Boys & Girls Town in the 25th and 26th   Judicial Circuits.

For information on becoming a foster parent, call Jaimi Nelson at (573) 261-0351.