Every child deserves a loving home to grow and learn, and at least one supportive parent to help foster a bright future.

The demand for foster families in Indiana has reached an all-time high. In fact, nearly twice as many children are in the foster care system than there are available foster homes, according to the Indiana Department of Child Services. More than half of these children have a parent with substance abuse issues – a growing problem due in part to the opioid epidemic.

Foster families provide an immediate source of stability and safety for children who have experienced trauma, with the hopeful intention of reuniting the child with their birth family. Some children are only placed in a foster home for a few days while others can be in foster care for more than a year. No matter the period of time, these children are able to continue to grow and thrive in a nurturing home provided by foster care.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be married or own a home to become a licensed foster parent, and you only need to be 21 years old or older. There is also no requirement that you have children of your own. Some children benefit from having other children in their foster homes and others are better off placed in a home with no other children, which is why it is important to have a variety of available foster families in Indiana’s foster care system.

Some steps that need to be met to ensure foster parents are capable and willing to take care of a child include passing a criminal history and background check, home visits to ensure safety standards, positive personal reference statements and completion of required training. View the full list of standards to become a licensed foster parent in Indiana here.

Children are placed with foster families through a matching program that addresses needs, abilities and resources of both the child and the family. Reimbursement is distributed to foster parents on a per diem, or per day, basis, and amounts vary based on the needs of the child.

To learn more about becoming a foster parent, click here, and to speak with a foster care specialist, call 812-234-0100.

To learn about the partnership between the Indiana House of Representatives and the Indiana Association for Resources and Child Advocacy Institute for Excellence, click here and follow #FosterHopeIndiana on social media.