Indiana Lawmakers Raising Awareness of Foster Home Shortage
STATEWIDE--House lawmakers are finding ways to help children in need as the demand for foster families in Indiana reaches an all-time high.
House Speaker Brian C. Bosma (R-Indianapolis) and House Democratic Leader Scott Pelath (D-Michigan City) announced that Indiana House of Representatives is partnering with the Indiana Association of Resources and Child Advocacy and it's Institute for Excellence during the 2018 legislative session. The Indiana Association of Resources and Child Advocacy serves over 4,600 children every day in foster homes, group homes, and treatment facilities. It also works closely with the Indiana Department of Child Services to improve the lives of children.
"We have too many children across Indiana who are waiting for a foster or adoptive family,” Bosma said. “Through our partnership with IARCA, we want to encourage more Hoosiers to open their hearts and change a life through fostering or adopting. We need more loving homes to bring safety, stability and hope to children and adolescents who have nowhere else to turn. If you aren’t able to care for a child, we encourage you to reach out to foster families in your area, as they too, need support and encouragement.”
In Indiana, nearly twice as many children are in the foster care system than there are available foster homes. Bosma said more than half of these children have a parent with substance abuse issues---a growing problem due in part to the opioid epidemic.
“IARCA and its Institute for Excellence are pleased to join Speaker Bosma, Democratic Leader Pelath, and the 100 members of the Indiana House in this call to action,” said IARCA Executive Director Cathy Graham. “Children who have suffered abuse or neglect need a family to provide a heart and a home while they heal and their families receive treatment. Foster families stand in the gap until a child can be safely returned to their family, or until an adoptive family is matched with the child. IARCA member agencies recruit, screen, train and provide supports to foster families to provide hope for children in need. We need foster families to work with children of all ages, who come from varied cultures, and who have a range of special needs. Matched with the right family and services, abused and neglected children can heal from their trauma and lead successful lives.”
About 57% of all children entering the child welfare system are newborns through 5 years of age. Many of these children leave their homes with the clothes they have on or only what they can fit into a trash bag. That's why legislators launched a donation drive to collect needed items such as diapers and blankets for foster families caring for newborns and infants.
(PHOTO: Indiana Office of the Speaker)