United Way’s November spotlight: The work of Coyote Hill in helping children into safe foster homes

Pictured are graduates of a STARS class. STARS pre-service training is a prerequisite to becoming a licensed foster home. All of these pictured families successfully completed the required training and went through all of the requirements to become a licensed foster or respite home to serve local foster children. Courtesy of Coyote Hill

HANNIBAL, Mo. – Coyote Hill is United Way of the Mark Twain Area’s Community Impact Agency that will be highlighted throughout November.

Coyote Hill Hannibal is a satellite operation of Coyote Hill based in Harrisburg, Mo outside of Columbia, Mo. The organization began in the early 1990s with the goal to provide safe, quality foster homes by operating children’s homes for kids in foster care.

Since that time, they have expanded the offerings of the organization and do more than just operate children’s foster homes.

Marion County has over 200 children in foster care. When looking at the number of kids in care and the county population, this puts Marion County in the top 5 counties throughout the state of Missouri for the number of kids in care per capita. Also, in the area, there is a shortage of foster families.

Coyote Hill came to Hannibal in October of 2021 with the goal to change the narrative of foster care within the area. Their organization recruits, trains, and licenses local foster families. They are striving to license as many safe, quality foster homes as possible to provide local children with a quality experience during their time in foster care.

Since opening their office in Hannibal the organization has trained and licensed over 30 local families. Many of their families already have foster children placed with them.

When families are licensed to be foster families through Coyote Hill, that is only the beginning of a family’s walk with the organization.

The organization provides continuous support for families throughout the duration of their time being foster parents. When foster parents take a new placement, Coyote Hill wraps support around those foster parents and the foster child.

Each family is paired with a Family Advocate who walks hand in hand with them throughout their journey. The Family Advocate can be called upon with questions, to help explain the processes, and just be a caring person to support the family.

The organization provides additional support to their foster families including gifts at Christmas, school supplies, and through the organization’s Memory Maker Fund, they pay the costs related to children’s extracurricular activities (registration fees, equipment/clothing, etc.) as well as help fund family trips so children can make positive memories.

Additionally, the organization has Community Groups. There are groups for kids as well as foster parents. During the groups, older foster kids are able to learn life skills – during the groups volunteers help older youth learn to cook. Younger children are provided a safe place to play. There are foster parent groups for men and women. These groups provide a safe, supportive place for foster parents to share about their struggles and triumphs as well as build a community they can rely upon who share a similar journey.

Coyote Hill has hosted two Hope for the Journey Conferences and hosted other trainings about TBRI (Trust-Based Relational Intervention) to ensure individuals who work with youth who have experienced trauma understand best practices to help these young people.

This great work is why Coyote Hill was selected to be one of United Way of the Mark Twain Area’s Community Impact Partners. They are one of the 17 local non-profit organizations that will benefit financially from United Way’s BE A LIGHT Campaign.

To learn more about the BE A LIGHT Campaign visit their website.

To learn more about Coyote Hill visit their website.

Community members and businesses are encouraged to partner with United Way to be a light to individuals who rely upon the programs United Way helps fund. 

Individuals interested in financially supporting the efforts of United Way can give online at unitedwaymta.org or by mailing gifts to PO Box 81 Hannibal, Mo 63401.

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