Helping children find a stable home

Written by emallers on January 5th, 2018

In Indiana, there are nearly twice as many children in the foster care system than there are available foster homes. In 2017, more than 23,000 Hoosier children were in need of a foster home. Almost 60 percent of all kids that enter the child welfare system are under 6 years old, and many leave home with only the clothes on their backs or what can fit into a trash bag.

These staggering statistics are heart wrenching. They highlight the need for a more streamlined adoption process and foster care program in Indiana. At any given time, there are 75 to 100 children in the Department of Child Service’s database waiting to be adopted. Appreciating the growing demands placed on the system, state lawmakers and the Holcomb Administration increased DCS funding nearly $600 million during the current two-year budget cycle.

Since the start of the New Year, a highly-respected national firm is performing a top-to-bottom audit of DCS procedures and policies. While I eagerly await their findings and recommendations this spring, I have already been working to improve efficiency and transparency within Indiana’s adoption and foster care systems. This session, my goal is to create measures that ensure and accelerate the placement of children in safe and loving homes. With my legislation, I hope to provide a clear process and guidelines for those involved in foster care and adoption. While often a thankless job, fostering or adopting a child is a rewarding experience. I respect anyone who is considering or currently participating in this process. You are needed!

This issue is very near and dear to my heart.

As a child, my father frequently abused my mother, siblings and me. When my mother tried to stop him, he would knock her unconscious. It wasn’t until my mother threatened to kill my father that she was granted a restraining order.

One night, while we were staying with my grandmother, my father barged in and forced my mom to leave with him at gun point. I remember waking up in the back of a police car, not knowing what was going on and then being taken to a group home where I was separated from my brother and sister. Eventually, my mother was able to escape and come back to us.

That was more than 60 years ago, but I still remember vividly how terrified I was as a child. I experienced the same confusion and emotions similar to what children in foster care experience today, and I want to ensure that no child has to go through what I went through.

Over the last few months, I have been meeting with adoptive and foster families, DCS officials, the governor and his staff, and other lawmakers to find the best solution for kids. I want to hear from Hoosiers about their experiences with the Indiana foster program and adoption process. You can share your story with me at or 317-232-9648.


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