May is National Foster Care Month

May is National Foster Care Month

Friday, May 3, 2019

National Foster Care Month, observed each May, recognizes the important role foster parents, child welfare professionals and other community members play in the lives of foster children.

It is estimated that 442,000 kids and teens across the nation are unable to stay in their own homes because of abuse or neglect, and as of March 2019, more than 14,500 of these children live in Indiana.

Throughout the month, the Children's Bureau, which is within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, will promote opportunities for community engagement to support these children.

This year, the Children's Bureau is sharing resources that explain that foster care is a "Support to Families, Not a Substitute for Parents," which is the theme for the month.

To raise awareness of the number of children in Indiana's foster care system, the Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS) will also be hosting events throughout the state this month promoting opportunities to help our most vulnerable children.

To learn more about how to get involved, click here.

Additionally, the General Assembly passed legislation during the 2019 session to support DCS and Indiana’s foster children.

For example, our state’s next two-year budget, House Enrolled Act 1001, allocates $502 million in additional funding to DCS.

Senate Enrolled Act 1 also creates measures to protect Indiana’s vulnerable children by addressing the concerns of foster parents dealing with the court system. This bill creates a process to allow foster parents to share their recommendations about a child’s welfare with the court.

Another bill passed this year, House Enrolled Act 1006, implements recommendations from the Child Welfare Policy and Practice Group to improve DCS based on its 2018 review of the agency. HEA 1006 will helps DCS become more efficient by modifying caseload standards for in-home child placements and directing DCS to focus neglect investigations on parents who purposely refuse to care for their children.

For more information on legislation passed this session, click here.