INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-- Indiana is bursting at every corner an with the amount of children in the foster care system. Advocates say the opioid epidemic has caused a domino effect with children suffering the most.
This time of year many people are more inclined to donate to charities, their church, or local community groups. But Child Advocates want you to consider more long term giving the gift of a stable home.
A warehouse full of presents. Once again the Foster Fairies are unknown Santa helpers who bought gifts for hundreds of kids in foster care. And again this year, the need has intensified.
"We need more people in the community interested in the children in the child welfare system," Child Advocates, CEO, Cindy Booth said.
The goal is to take some of the impact off the children. So bags full of goodies are a small gesture to bring joy and take away the pain caused by not spending the holiday with their family.
"It's difficult at times for me to think about what they're going through. So we try to just make it welcoming and fun and everything that we can do extra for them," foster parent, Amanda Weddle said.
Amanda Weddle has two foster children in addition to her three children.
"We wanted to adopt the last time. Sorry, I get a little emotional. Just everything they've been through," Weddle said.
The children are back with her for a second time. Although she's here picking up presents, her presence is what changed their life. She wants more parents to consider giving children stable homes.
"If I can do it, they can. I have three other kids at home, I have my two bonus kids as I call them. It's better than the alternative. Them staying in like a group therapy home or you know being part of a family," Weddle said.
Since 2014 the number of children in the child welfare system has doubled in Marion county alone. Now child advocates is responsible for more than 5,000 children on any one day.
"Well I know we have children sleeping in the DCS office because there aren't enough foster families so it would not be too far to say that if our numbers have doubled we need double the number of foster parents," Booth said.
And for the Weddle family they're ready to give the ultimate gift.
"We are hoping for everything to be finalized and finished by may that we're going to adopt them."
Center Township trustee, Gene Akers donated the warehouse for the Foster Fairies and Child Advocates to house the donations this year.
There are several ways to volunteer. To learn more about Child Advocates, click here.