JONES FAMILY STORY

Keeping Families Together in Small-Town Missouri

Corey and LaRae Jones had talked about becoming foster parents for quite some time. The couple has been married for 13 years, and are the parents of three children. “We’ve always wanted to adopt, but we recognized that there are plenty of children who need help and a home, even for a short time,” said LaRae.

The Jones live in King City in Gentry County, Mo., which is 38 miles southeast of Maryville. Currently, Corey is a field service technician and in the Air Force Guard, and LaRae was a teacher until she quit working to stay at home with their daughter, who has an auto-immune deficiency that prevents her from attending a traditional school.

On the Path to Becoming Foster Parents

“When Cornerstones of Care became the licensing agency for our area, things moved pretty fast.” Due to the ever-increasing need of foster parents in rural areas, the family development specialist from the Cornerstones of Care – Maryville location immediately reached out to the family to set up the initial home visit. “We had to put her off for two weeks because we were leaving for vacation. We returned on a Monday in July, and Tracy, our family development specialist, was there on Tuesday.”

Typically, it can take four to six months from the initial call to becoming fully licensed and able to care for foster youth. The Joneses took the required classes in August, and were licensed in October. Two days later they received their first call for a two-week emergency placement of three brothers, ages five, three and one.

“We had beds, but that was about it. Everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong,” said LaRae. “It was a very eye-opening experience, but when we understood what these children had been through and why they were behaving as they were, we found we could manage it.” After two weeks, a permanent placement had been found for the boys.

The Call to Keep Families Together

The next call was an emergency placement for a nine-month-old girl. Initially, the placement was to last for two weeks, but instead the Joneses found themselves with the young child for seven months. The young girl is now back with her parents, but stays with the Jones family when her mother and father need to be out of town. “Her parents are doing a good job, but it’s like, ‘when you foster the child, you foster the family,’” said LaRae. “The situation is the best: she is at home with her parents and we are a part of her life.”

The Joneses have now had four placements during their time as foster parents. “This isn’t for everybody, but once you see how it works and that you can help get a family back together, it’s a great thing.”

Our team of family development specialists are looking for safe, reliable and passionate foster parents in 30 Northwest Missouri counties. In each community, we are in urgent need of foster homes willing to accept sibling groups. As a community partner in Missouri, our primary goal when children enter care is to keep sibling groups together and within their community. Foster parents at Cornerstones of Care keep kids safe. Learn more about keeping children safe and siblings together by becoming a foster parent, or give us a call at 855-778-5437.

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