Foster families play a vital role in the lives of children in need. With more than 23,000 children in Indiana placed in foster care due to unsafe environments, new laws were recently enacted to help students in foster care succeed academically and clearly outline the rights of foster.
According to the Indiana Department of Education, studies show that students in foster care experience school suspensions and expulsions at higher rates than their peers, lower standardized test scores in reading and math, higher rate of being held back and drop-out, and far lower high school and college graduation rates. Often, these children are removed from their homes due to traumatic situations, and then they may experience sporadic home and school transfers. These experiences can, understandably, put them behind academically.
A new law I supported gives school systems the ability to coordinate with the Department of Child Services to ensure children in the foster care system are known by the school and better served in the classroom. The law will help make teachers aware of students’ circumstances so they can better address their individual needs.
In an effort to provide foster parents a stronger voice, a new law I supported establishes a foster parent bill of rights. DCS will form a group consisting of current foster parents, child-placing agencies and other organizations and individuals with expertise in foster care services to develop and update a statement of rights and responsibilities of foster parents. As a result, primary caregivers of children removed from unsafe environments can gain access to important information, like medical records, that could help them better care for the child.
With the need for foster parents at an all-time high, there are several ways to help. Foster homes are a temporary environment for children, with the ultimate goal of reunifying them with their family. While not everyone is in the position to open their homes, others may be considering becoming a foster parent. To find out more information, visit DCS online at in.gov/dcs/fostercare.htm or call 888-631-9510.
Every child deserves a safe environment to grow and learn. These new laws will help foster children and parents better succeed. If you have any comments or concerns contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-232-9769.
Rep. Steve Davisson represents Washington County, and portions
of Orange, Lawrence, Jackson, Clark and Harrison counties.
A high-resolution photo of Davisson can be downloaded by clicking here.