Every child deserves to have a loving home, a family that cares for them and the confidence that there is always someone in their corner. Unfortunately, there are children who are bounced from home to home, family to family, wondering where they belong and if they will ever be unconditionally loved. It is up to our community to protect these children and support an adoption and foster care system that welcomes these children into families and gives them a chance to experience the love and care they deserve. As a state legislator, and with the help of my colleagues in the Indiana General Assembly, we have been focused on improving outcomes for children involved with the Department of Child Services.
In 2020 the U.S. Administration for Children and Families awarded Indiana more than $4.7 million through an adoption and legal guardianship incentive award. These funds have allowed the state to further enhance our child welfare system and protect Hoosier children as we search for families to love and support them forever.
In the year leading up to this announcement, the Indiana General Assembly and other state agencies worked tirelessly to improve the efficiency in the adoption system by supporting the children and parents in the foster care system, creating adoption units within the Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS) and passing new laws.
Our legislative action created a Foster Parents’ Bill of Rights, increased funding for DCS by $502 million and implemented recommendations from a comprehensive review of the agency that will help DCS implement a multi-tiered systems of support program, which focuses on ongoing internal reviews and process improvements. The ultimate goal is an outcome in the best interest of the child, their safety, and helping these vulnerable children find permanent loving homes.
Following these actions, an enhanced database was launched to keep better track of adoption inquiries and provide a digital picture book of Indiana’s Waiting Children. This resource allows prospective families to learn about children’s strengths, interests, and needs for an adoptive home through their individual profile pages. It also provides information on the adoption system and sources to reference before, during or after the adoption process.
As chair of the Interim Study Committee on Child Services and member of Child Welfare Champions Corner, I want to continue making sure our children are given the best care and have someone fighting for them. My colleagues and I in the Senate will continue working with DCS to improve our adoption and foster care system, ensuring the most vulnerable young people in our state are placed with families that support and love them.
Hoosiers interested in adopting or fostering can visit in.gov/DCS to learn more about the process and the children currently in need of a loving family.
If you have any thoughts or questions regarding this topic or others, please contact me by email at [email protected] or by phone at 800-382-9467.