Local single parent fosters 30 children in 24 years

INDIANAPOLIS -- Charles Brown has fostered more than 30 children over the past 24 years.

One of those children, Roney Brown, was in and out of many homes before Charles came along.

"I got into a lot of trouble. behavioral issues," Roney said. 

But when he was placed with Charles, "it felt like home," Roney said. 

Charles is a single foster dad, dispelling a myth that a single parent can't foster, Sharon Pierce, CEO of The Villages, said.

"We probably have a pretty even mix of singles and married couples that are part of foster care we've got young parents and young couples who have never had families yet," Pierce said. "We've got empty-nesters and everything in between."

Charles was 25 and working at a youth center when he welcomed his first foster child, and was brokenhearted when it was time for the child to leave.


"It's something to be able to have an effect on a child on a certain level," Charles said. "But when a child lives with you and you're able to influence different aspects of their lives and really affect their way of thinking and how they do things - its a whole different level of influence."

The minimum age to become a foster parent in Indiana is 21. 

Charles said the emotional risk is worth the reward, "because its not about you at a certain point."

"When you see the kids grades go from F to A's, when you see a biological family who's homeless but then they get a place to stay," Charles said.  

Roney said foster parents should be prepared for possible resistance.

"Most people say, 'Oh well, this child should be grateful that they're in a house, but you gotta think about what that child's been through."

Charles went on to adopt Roney, and Roney says it changed the course of his life.

"I've turned my life to be positive, instead of being negative."

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