INDIANAPOLIS -- The number of children in Indiana's welfare system right now is more than double what it was five years ago which has created a critical need for foster parents in the state.
Sharon Pierce, President and CEO of The Villages says opioid addictions have contributed to that increase and accounts for nearly 60 percent of Hoosier children entering the welfare system.
"I think we need to be very alarmed and I always say that the children are the silent victims of the opioid crisis in our state and so many other states," said Pierce.
In 2013 there were roughly 15,000 children in the child welfare system, now there are more than 29,000 children needing support.
If you've considered becoming a foster parent you probably have a lot of questions so RTV6's Ericka Flye went straight to foster parents - new and old - to get the answers you need.
Watch the video clip above to hear what advice they have for anyone wanting to foster.
In Indiana, foster parents must be licensed by the Department of Child Services.
The requirements for licensure include:
- Must be at least 21 years of age
- Passing a criminal history and background check that includes a fingerprint-based national history
- Demonstrating financial stability
- Own or renting your own home that meets physical safety standards (e.g., fire extinguishers, adequate bedroom space, reliable transportation)
- Medical statements from a physician for all household members
- Successful completion of pre-service training requirements
- Successful completion of First Aid, CPR, and Universal Precautions training
- Positive personal reference statements
- Foster parents do not need to be married. They may be single or cohabitating. A live-in relationship with a significant other or same-sex partner should be established for at least one year to demonstrate stability.
- Home visits from the Regional Licensing Specialist
- Completing all required forms within the licensing packet
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