(AP) - Agencies across Indiana are scrambling to find more foster parents as
the number of children entering foster care in the state is at an all-time
The Villages of
Indiana, the state’s largest not-for-profit child and family services
agency, will host several sessions over the next few months to meet
individuals and couples interested in learning more about foster parenting,
The Herald-Times reported.
“They are really
informal times for families who are considering foster care, or for people
who are interested in learning what that even means or would entail,” said
Deborah Brewer, The Villages’ regional and early childhood program director.
“We cover a lot of really basic questions to more specific questions, like
the amount of training involved, space and time requirements.”
A January report
from the Indiana Department of Child Services shows there are nearly 1,000
children in need of service in Monroe, Brown, Greene, Owen and Lawrence
counties. More than 460 of those children live in Monroe County.
The Villages has a
contract with the Indiana Department of Child Services to facilitate the
foster process. It currently has about 235 licensed homes across the state.
Brewer said nearly 20 of those homes are in the Bloomington area.
There are nearly
280 children currently placed in homes across Indiana. Twenty of them are
placed in homes in and around Monroe County.
Brewer said it’s
“This is what
breaks my heart,” Brewer said. “This month alone I’ve had, for the southern
Indiana region, 72 calls from DCS. That’s for about 150 to 200 kids. I’ve
been able to place three this month. Right now, I have to say ‘No’ a lot.”
Brewer said it’s
crucial to have a variety of foster parents available.
“Anyone can be a
foster parent. I have single parents, couples, including same-sex couples,
retired people, people with kids, empty nesters,” she said. “Kids come from
all types of backgrounds. You want foster parents in every county, so you
can place a child close to their area. You also want to be able to make the
best match possible so we can make it last."