Indiana in need of more foster parents, events planned for National Adoption Month

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YORKTOWN, Ind. - Children around the state of Indiana are waiting for homes.  Many of those kids face trauma after being removed from bad situations.

But, there are not enough foster or adoptive parents to immediately fill the need.

The Department of Child Services, along with other agencies it partners with, are preparing to put a spotlight on this issue during National Adoption Month starting November 1.

Jessica Smith is a mom to two kids of her own but decided to step up when she saw a need in her community.

"My husband is a police officer and I’m a nurse," Smith said. "So, we see a lot of tragic things happen. We wanted to make a difference."

They became foster parents in March of this year. Since then, they have fostered three children. Smith said they have found support in others who are taking on the same role.

"We all, collaboratively, feel like this is a huge crisis," Smith said. "It is a struggle to get these kids placed. They’re sleeping in offices. There are just not enough homes."

Sometimes, kids who need to be placed in a home do not have foster parents available immediately.

There are situations where kids spend the night in a Department of Child Services office as a case worker tries to find a more permanent solution. A spokesperson for DCS says their offices are equipped to handle this and have cots available.

Data from DCS shows the number of kids in out of home care went from 13,811 in September 2015 to 17,214 in September 2017. Meantime, the number of licensed homes to care for them only increased slightly.

"We have, at any given time, over 150 children that we’re recruiting for," said Anna Wolak, director of adoption recruitment for the Children's Bureau.

There are pages and pages of pictures children who are waiting for a permanent home on the Indiana Adoption Program's website.

"When you see hard things on the news, you need to think if there’s a child behind that and if they’ve entered the system because of that," Wolak said.

Those who work with foster parents and children say the opioid crisis is partially to blame for the increasing number of kids in need.

"It has gone up I would say a great deal," Stults said. "The drug use by a lot of individuals is such a hard cycle to break."

For a look at the events planned for National Adoption Month in Indiana, click here. 

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