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Foster Care provides a safe, nurturing, stable, and temporary environment for children who can no longer remain in their own homes due to the risk of abuse or neglect. This care may be provided by unlicensed or licensed relatives, as well as licensed non-relative foster parents. Foster care is given with the intention of helping children safely reunify with their families. Children are placed in close proximity to their families when this is possible, particularly when reunification of the family is the case goal. Placement may occur until reunification with the child’s family takes place or another permanent placement is established. Foster children come from diverse ethnic and cultural populations, and are between infant and 18 years of age. They may have special medical, developmental, mental, or emotional needs. Foster children may also belong to a sibling group or be an only child. Effort is made to keep foster children in their home school district, but they may transfer to school in the area of their foster family. In order to provide foster care, a family must be issues a standard foster family home license by DCS.
- Children in foster care are some of the most educationally disadvantaged students. Studies show that students in foster care experience: school suspensions and expulsions at higher rates than their peers not in foster care, lower standardized test scores in reading and math, high levels of grade retention and drop-out, and far lower high school and college graduation rates. There is growing evidence that these are symptoms of the trauma.
- The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was signed into law on December 10, 2015. ESSA requires states to ensure protections for vulnerable youth in the foster care and juvenile justice systems through school stability and transportation, immediate enrollment, mandatory data reporting, and agency collaboration.
- There is legislation that refers to the enrollment of foster children in school and their transportation to and from school.
- The health insurance of former foster children is covered through the state’s Medicaid program and exists up until they turn 21.
- As of May, 2018: 29,000 students are in Indiana’s foster care system (that number is up from 13,000 5 years ago).
- Indiana removes children from their homes and places them in state care at more than twice the national average rate. (https://www.ibj.com/articles/67345-report-indiana-putting-children-in-foster-care-at-twice-national-rate)
- There is a shortage of approved foster families in Indiana.
- The foster parent and relative caregiver’s role includes:
- Participating in Child and Family Team Meetings or Case Plan Conferences
- Supporting the Case Plan goals
- Participating in court hearings when notified
- Providing for the child’s basic needs (e.g., food, clothing, and shelter)
- Maintaining confidentiality
- Supporting the approved Visitation Plan
- Supporting the child’s positive identification with his or her family of origin
- Students who enter the foster care system from 7th grade to 12th grade are eligible to enroll in the 21st Century Scholars program without proving family income information. Usually, the case worker assigned to the student will enter the application, but counselors and community partners can enter the application on behalf of the student as well. To enter an application, click the blue “Apply for Scholar” button and select the foster care option. You will only need to enter the student’s identifying and contact information and the name of the case worker. The application then goes to the state DCS office for verification. The student must be in foster care on the day that the application is submitted in order to be approved.
- Foster Success: The Summer Catalyst Summer Bridge Program (03/21/2022)
- IYI Data Spotlight: Policies Influencing the Foster Care System (03/11/2022)
- Foster Youth Resources
- Foster Youth Legislation
- About Foster Care
- Foster Parent FAQs
- If you have general foster care questions, phone the Foster Care Help Line at 888-631-9510.
- 7 Facts About Indiana’s Foster Care Crisis
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This post was created by EFGH ContentManager on August 7, 2016.