Need for foster parents highlighted by pinwheel display in Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS -- Pinwheels were planted in the lawn outside The Villages social service agency in Indianapolis on Thursday to raise awareness of the need for foster parents.

Currently, there are 29,000 children in the Indiana child welfare system.

21-year-old Kiki Carpenter says her foster parents saved her life.

Carpenter lived with Judy Offutt from the time she was 13 until she was 17

"She really guided me. If I don't have Miss Judy or the other people in the foster care agency, it would have gone downhill fast. I was really lost. They were my navigators when I was out in the wind. It was really amazing," said Carpenter.

"Take a chance and try fostering. It changed my life. It makes me feel like I'm doing something worthwhile. It makes me feel needed and necessary. I fall in love with my kids. Whether you think you will or not, you will fall in love with them," said Offutt.

The president and CEO of The Villages thinks she knows why there are so many children in need of foster parents right now.

"We are pretty certain the opioid crisis has everything to do with the explosion, unprecedented number of abused and neglected children that we're seeing in this state," said Sharon Pierce, The Villages President and CEO.

Carpenter says she also plans to help out a child in need someday.

"I will. It's not a might. I'm definitely gonna be a foster parent," said Carpenter.

If you're looking to adopt a child you can contact the Indiana Department of Child Services or The Villages.

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