In 1988, President Ronald Reagan created National Foster Care Month for the month of May, aimed at bringing attention to the needs of foster children and recognizing those who work in the foster care system.
District 47 State Senator Erin Houchin says as a former Indiana Department of Child Services caseworkers, supporting foster children and their families is important to her, not just in May but year-round.
This past session, Houchin co-authored Senate Enrolled Act 233, which requires a Foster Parent Bill of Rights to be created in collaboration with DCS, foster parents and others in the foster care field.
Houchin says the statement will outline the rights and responsibilities of foster parents and create clear guidelines for their reference. The Foster Parent Bill of Rights will be distributed to current and prospective foster families and made available on the DCS website.
When foster families make the decision to open their homes to the foster care system, they are giving children the greatest gifts they can offer – a loving family and a roof over their heads.
Houchin says as a former DCS caseworkers, she has seen what some of our most vulnerable children face, and says she’s thankful to those who step up to shelter and raise them in their time of need.
She says while it is important for foster families to understand what is expected of them, it is equally important for DCS to hear concerns from current foster parents and understand issues that may be present in the system. Senate Enrolled Act 233 seeks to create an open dialogue where these concerns can be expressed, heard and addressed. It empowers foster families and holds child-placing agencies accountable to specifically outlined and agreed-upon terms.
With the signing of Senate Enrolled Act 233, Indiana became the 18th state with a Foster Parent Bill of Rights law.
If you have any thoughts or questions on these or other issues, please contact Houchin by email at Senator.Houchin@iga.in.gov or by phone at 800-382-9467.
Houchin represents Indiana Senate District 47 which covers Crawford, Orange, Harrison, Perry and Washington counties, and eastern Dubois County.