Missouri and Kansas both continue to struggle with lagging tax revenue. The money trickling into Jefferson City and Topeka is so far off of estimates that both states are re-tooling approved budgets and cutting programs.
In Missouri, foster care is carrying a heavy load of the state's budget cuts. Foster cases handled by state-contracted agencies are being shifted back to state control, sometimes tripling the case load of social workers.
Foster families say that's not as burdensome as some of the reductions in expenses the state allows for the interim parents it appoints to children in state custody.
KCUR's Matt Hackworth recently visited Midwest Foster Families, a support center for foster families. He spoke with James McMannis, a retiree from Wal-Mart. Over the din of foster children from several families at play, McMannis shares his story of foster parenting for 23 years.