Need for Indiana foster homes surges as opioid addicts leave children behind

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Adoption advocates are calling on Hoosiers to foster children as Indiana battles yet another symptom of the opioid epidemic.

The Villages of Indiana reports a surge in children being pulled from homes where parents are addicted to drugs. As a result, they are running out of good foster homes.

“I can never remember many more than about 14,000 children in Indiana’s child welfare system and today we have 22,000 to 23,000 children," said Sharon Pierce, President of The Villages. “We’ve never needed a bench strength of foster parents in the way we need them today.”

Pierce said some children are even born addicted to drugs. People who choose to foster those babies receive special help from The Village to allow the foster parents to get enough rest.

“There’s lots of crying as they withdraw from that experience because of the parents drug addiction.”

That's why The Villages of Indiana has been releasing promotional videos all year calling on Hoosiers to foster these children. Right now, the Villages has about 300 licensed foster families, but could use at least 100 more.

“It doesn’t take a hero to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Or to hug a child. Or to make sure that a child gets read to before they go to bed at night. But it takes a heart and it takes a lot of patience.”

Fostering can be a daunting idea, but there are informational meetings you can attend to begin learning about it. The next meeting happens on Monday, Jan. 23 at 6 p.m. at 3833 North Meridian Street in Indianapolis.

You can find out how to become a foster parent here.