State Rep. Kathy Kreag Richardson (R-Noblesville) recently helped fellow House lawmakers with donating diaper bags filled with baby supplies for foster families across Indiana.
The Indiana House of Representatives partnered with the Indiana Association of Resources and Child Advocacy (IARCA) and its Institute for Excellence, a nonprofit organization serving more than 4,600 Hoosier children every day, to host the “Bags of Hope” event.
House lawmakers and staff held a donation drive at the Statehouse and collected over 3,800 items for foster families caring for newborns and infants, including diapers, diaper bags, wet wipes, blankets, clothes and toys. Together with IARCA, more than 100 diaper bags were filled to be distributed to local foster families.
“Many people are opening their hearts and homes to children in need,” Richardson said. “Although not everyone is in a position to become foster parents, there are other ways to get involved by volunteering with local foster care agencies or becoming a mentor. A lot of people in our community have the potential to change a child’s life.”
Richardson said there are twice as many Hoosier children in the foster care system as there are available foster homes. According to the Department of Child Services, the number of children in out-of-home care jumped from 13,811 in September 2015, to 17,214 just two years later. Richardson said much of this increase is due to the escalating opioid epidemic.
Foster parents in Indiana need to be over the age of 21 and pass a criminal background check, as well as meet certain standards outlined by DCS. Foster parents do not have to be married or own a home. There are also children in foster care waiting to be adopted, and their stories can be found at in.gov/dcs.
IARCA serves children in foster homes, group homes and treatment facilities while working closely with DCS to improve the lives of children. Locally, Children’s Bureau, Inc. is a member agency of IARCA that offers training, counseling and adoption and child care services.