May is National Foster Care Month and a great opportunity to consider how we can help improve the lives of children in need. With over 26,000 children in Indiana’s child welfare system, the General Assembly enacted new laws providing the Department of Child Services with more resources to help vulnerable Hoosiers.
A new law reforming DCS ensures youth in foster care will continue receiving services until they are 21 years old, which raises the age from 20. Continued involvement of a case manager, therapy and living assistance will provide foster youth with additional wraparound support as they make the challenging transition into adulthood. With more stability and resources available in this critical stage of life, Hoosiers in the foster system will have more opportunity for success as young adults.
To help improve the quality of care, case manager caseloads will be decreased. Better balancing case manager workloads will give them more time to thoroughly do their jobs and adhere to best practices. Case workers will have more opportunity to check valuable background information before initiating on-site assessments and adequately reporting each case. These changes will help DCS to utilize their resources and effectively serve Hoosier children.
In addition to new legislation, support from community members plays a vital role in foster children’s lives, and I encourage you to be active in helping young Hoosiers in our community. Vulnerable children across the state who can no longer remain in their own homes due to the risk of abuse or neglect are in need of safe, nurturing and temporary homes.
You can help these children facing difficult circumstances by volunteering, providing financial support, making donations or becoming a foster parent. Learn more about foster care, opening your home and helping young Hoosiers by visiting www.in.gov/dcs.
As always, your feedback and input is critical for me to best represent our area. Please let me know your thoughts and questions by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 317-232-9802. I encourage you to make your voice heard and help your government work for you.
State Rep. Stephen Bartels (R-Eckerty) represents House District 74, which
includes portions of Spencer, Dubois, Perry, Crawford and Orange counties.
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