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New effort to get Indiana adoptive families minimum state subsidies

Some foster parents say they’re offered $1/day
Posted: 2:06 PM, Jan 09, 2020
Updated: 2020-01-09 19:35:11-05
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INDIANAPOLIS —Indiana lawmakers are taking action this session to help Indiana families who want to adopt a child in need.

Foster parents have told Call 6 Investigates they’re fed up with roadblock after roadblock.

Currently, foster parents in Indiana receive a state per diem to help offset costs for things like food and clothing.

But when foster parents want to adopt that child, they say the Indiana Department of Child Services offers what they call ridiculous payments like $1/day.

PREVIOUS | Foster families applaud moves to remove roadblocks

Sen. David Niezgodski, D-South Bend, said adoptive parents need more support.

"There are times when they go to adopt, they are being offered in negotiations with DCS $1 or $2 a day," said Niezgodski. "That should never be the case."

Niezgodski filed Senate Bill 310, which would create a minimum adoption subsidy of at least 50% of what the foster family currently receives from the state.

RELATED | Families frustrated over lack of adoption subsidy in Indiana

"The bill would very well create a better system for children with special needs to be adopted to loving families," said Niezgodski. "We're talking about children who have come out of broken homes. They have to treatment, and that treatment can take a long time."

The bill would also make it clear that DCS and the courts can't consider adoption assistance or subsidies when determining whether to place the child in the home.

"I'm trying to do something that's right and possible," said Niezgodski.

The democrat is already getting support from the other side of the aisle, including Republican Senator Jon Ford.

"We owe a great deal to the Hoosier families who welcome the foster children of our state into their homes and hearts," Sen. Ford said. "This legislation comes after careful discussion in summer study committees last year among caseworkers, foster parents, and other stakeholders. These children deserve a home that not only feeds and clothes them, but also makes them feel secure and promotes their happiness. I believe it's important we give every foster child in our system a new start and let these adoptive parents know how much we appreciate and support them."

The Child Welfare Policy and Practice Group released a six-month investigation in 2018 about Indiana DCS that shows foster parents already receive insufficient funding to help cover the necessary costs of child care that would allow them to work while also raising foster children.

RELATED | Governor announces $25M will help address problems in child welfare system

“Foster parents do not receive daycare/childcare payments,” read the report. “They are expected to use their per diem, which is largely insufficient.”

The Indiana Foster And Adoptive Parents Resources and Advocacy Group has been pushing for adoption subsidies for years and supports the bill.

STATEMENT:

“The over 10,000 members of the Indiana Foster And Adoptive Parents Resources and Advocacy Group IFAAP is very excited and optimistic that the Title IV-E Adoption Subsidy Bill is still in the fore front of the 2020 Legislative Session.

We are grateful that the Indiana General Assembly along with Governor Holcomb has recognized the importance of PERMANENCY for foster children waiting to be adopted in Indiana.

We are hopeful Governor Holcomb and lawmakers will pass the bill supporting foster children and the families who are willing to give children FOREVER HOMES in order to financially support the ordinary and special needs of children.”