Indiana is currently in crisis with their need for foster parents. Calls to the child abuse hotline have increased exponentially over the past year. Foster care is caring for children in your home who cannot safely live with their parents or guardians. Foster care is designed to be temporary while the parents or guardians prepare to care for their children with the ultimate goal always being reunification of children with their birth families or guardians. However, adoption can be an option in cases where parental rights are terminated. There are approximately 17,000 children in Indiana in need of services and placement outside of their homes. Although foster parents are not paid an income, they receive financial reimbursement for caring for children; the amount is based upon the needs of the child. The typical time to complete the licensing process is four to six months. You have control over the age, gender, number of children, known behavior or medical issues, etc. depending on your comfort level.
Department of Child Services (DCS)
- A family is licensed directly through DCS, all training and licensing requirements completed by you through DCS
- The DCS Family Case Manager is the main support for the family while children are placed in the home
- The Family Case Manager visits with the family once a month throughout placement
- The licensing timeline through all agencies is currently very long. We recommend you ask individual agencies of their current timeline before starting your application.
Licensed Child Placement Agency (LCPA)
- A family is licensed through the agency rather than directly through DCS, all training and licensing requirements come from the licensing worker at the agency.
- The agency case manager is the main support for the family while children are placed in the home
- Agency case manager does home visits on a monthly, bi-monthly, weekly or bi-weekly basis depending on the needs of the children
- Weekly contact with the agency case manager
- 24/7/365 on call crisis support through the agency
After you decide whether you should foster through DCS or LCPA it is helpful to contact DCS or an agency that is a LCPA and attend an information session where you will learn more about how they work. At that time, they will help you begin the process if you decide to move forward. It may also be helpful to attend information sessions with both DCS and a LCPA to learn more about the differences and which will be a better fit depending on the demographic of children you are interested in fostering.