Foster Parents Needed to Help Change Lives in Indiana
INDIANAPOLIS - While there is always a need for foster parents in Indiana, state officials say the need is especially great this year. According to the Indiana Department of Child Services there are over 18,000 children in the state's care, about four thousand more than at this time last year.
Spokesman James Wide, communications director, says it's very traumatic to be removed from a home, and children do better when they are in a familiar setting. He says placement with a relative can minimize the trauma.
"If we can't find any relatives that are suitable that can provide that safe environment then we would look outside of their family," says Wide. "It's very important because they need that stability and safe environment while they are transitioning to a more permanent situation."
Wide says the increase in the number of children in care is partly due to the drug abuse epidemic in Indiana. He adds it can also be attributed to better reporting capabilities, and greater awareness of the statewide hotline where suspected abuse or neglect can be reported 24/7. (That number is 800-800-5556)
In Indiana, a foster parent must be at least 21 years old, can be either single or married, and needs to be financially stable. Wide explains a good foster parent is also able to provide a safe and loving home.
"And be open to changing that child's life because the time, no matter how short that child or those children spend with the parent or the parents, could be life changing for them in a very positive way," he says.
Foster parents in Indiana must become licensed, pass a criminal background check and successfully complete pre-service and First Aid training.