Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

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May 20, 2014

Many children need foster parents

Caring foster parents open their homes to temporarily care for and embrace more than 4,900 Indiana youth in non-relative foster homes. They value the foster child’s family connections and provide a safe environment until the child can return home, be adopted or live independently.

May is National Foster Care Month and the Ripley County office of the Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS) is taking time to thank these families who provide homes and love to abused or neglected children here. Foster parents and their families in Ripley and six other neighboring counties were treated to an afternoon of free bowling and food May 10 to honor their work with children.

“People who become foster parents have chosen to be the difference for a foster child. Foster parents truly connect children to their community, impact young lives forever and offer hope for a successful future,” said Michelle Russell, local office director. “Please take some time this month to thank these wonderful families who provide homes and love to children who need them.”

When a child cannot safely stay at home, relatives or other appropriate caretakers known to the children are contacted before seeking foster families to care for them. Searching for families, however, who will open their hearts and homes to children in need is always a priority. “There are many, many families who have stepped up to be foster families, but there is always a need for more,” said Emily Hankins, regional foster care supervisor.

Caring Indiana foster families are especially sought for older youth, sibling groups and children with special needs. For details, persons may call 812-689-6295 or visit fostercare.in.gov.

To help with recruitment efforts, DCS recently completed a new 30-second foster parent recruitment video, “Choose to be the Difference.” The video features current and former foster parents and children from around the state encouraging others to sign up to be foster parents. It can be viewed on the DCS Home page at IN.gov, click on the YouTube icon.

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